PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY SARA SHEIKH / SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
Put on your hat and mitts and get ready to jingle all the way down to Brantford’s first Holiday Carnival.
On Nov. 27., the city of Brantford will be hosting a Holiday Carnival at Harmony Square, located downtown at 89 Dalhousie St, in lieu of the annual Christmas parade. This event will begin at 6:00p.m. and continue until 8:00p.m.
Typically, the JCI Christmas parade is a staple this time of year, but due to the pandemic, the parade has been on hiatus for the previous two years.
This alternate event will require no pre-registration as other community events in Brantford have this past year, seeing as restrictions have been lifted, although COVID protocols including mask wearing and social distancing will still be in place.
Previously known as the parade “after party”, this event has altered and grown so the Brant community can still enjoy the holiday season with festivities while still abiding by Covid regulations. The new name comes along with new attractions.
“We still wanted to offer the community a little Christmas spirit,” said Jennifer Middleton, Brantford’s special event coordinator.
Middleton and her planning partner Alyshia Howard have spent about three months preparing for all the new events the carnival has to offer.
The Holiday Carnival has paired up with the Brantford Area and Jeep Off Road Club, creating a new parade event this year. This stationary parade will feature 30-35 festively decorated jeeps for carnival-goers to admire on the street. The Jeep parade will be exclusive to this year, in hopes the regular Christmas parade will be possible next year
The Jeeps will act as parade floats and line the streets of downtown Brantford.
“They go all out, so it’s going to be pretty cool to see,” said Middleton, in regards to the Jeep decorations.
Another new attraction this year is a mini-ferris wheel, which will be right in the centre of Harmony Square where the ice rink will soon be. There will be seven attractions all together.
Middleton is expecting 1000-1500 community members to show up to the carnival to enjoy the lights, sounds and events of the night.
The carnival is free admission, but costs about $4500 to put together. Included in this cost is Guiness World Record holder for stilt walking, Doug the Great, along with a meet and greet with Santa Claus, Cindy Loo Who, the Grinch and the Snow Queen and Princess. Tim Hortons will also provide free hot chocolate, while the Brantford community will supply cotton candy and other carnival treats.
Laurier students are excited to start their holiday celebrations and get a sense of normalcy on campus.
“I’m hopeful that they’ll have a great turnout, it’s exciting to finally have an activity on campus since the pandemic. I love the holidays, the tree lighting ceremony sounds adorable, I’ve never been to one, so I think I’ll love it,” said fourth year criminology major, Nkelle Wright.
Harmony Squirrel, the mascot for Harmony Square, will be assisting in the tree lighting and spreading cheer to all attendees. The tree lighting will begin at 6:00 p.m.
Jessica Lorch, Laurier’s Leaders program supervisor, also believes the carnival will be a good event for Laurier students.
“It would be a great break during a very stressful time for a lot of students. The end of November and start of December are filled with exams and essays, so this is a lovely opportunity to relax while enjoying the holiday spirit,” said Lorch.
For children and other community members, there will be an opportunity to write and send letters to Santa with a drop off box at the carnival. The letters with a return address will receive a response letter coming back from the North Pole.
The event organizers and Laurier students alike are eager to celebrate the holiday season as a community.
Middleton is most excited to see the local children with Santa and capture the magical meet and greet moments with the photo booth.
The event is for young and old alike. The city of Brantford encourages everybody to come to Harmony Square and indulge in the festivities of the night.
“This time of the year, everybody is trying to get that Christmas spirit and everybody loves to see Santa,” said Middleton. “It’s a very special event for everyone, it brings so much joy to my heart.”