WESTLOCK – The 2021 Light Up Parade saw tremendous success with hundreds of cars lining bumper-to-bumper down Main Street last Friday, Nov. 19.
The event was once again adapted to comply with COVID-19 restrictions by operating in a ‘reverse parade’ format where the floats were parked along 100th Avenue and families drove past to view them.
“It was great seeing everybody come out and attend,” said Town of Westlock development services director Krystle Fedoretz. “Traffic flowed very smoothly through our downtown when people viewed the floats as well as when they dispersed down 104th Street. We didn’t run into any problems where we had traffic backed up to the highway, which is great. We got everybody through efficiently.”
The gates opened at 6 p.m. and the flood of cars only began to die down around 8 p.m. Sixteen floats from across the area came to celebrate the festive event. Even Mr. and Mrs. Claus made an appearance atop the Town of Westlock float.
“Our staff did an amazing job and there were lots of positive comments on how well it went … it almost went too well as we moved them through really, really well. Downtown looked spectacular,” added mayor Ralph Leriger during town council’s Nov. 22 meeting.
Coun. Murtaza Jamaly, who also thanked administration, saying he had to leave at 7:15 p.m. as he couldn’t “feel his toes anymore.”
“A lot of people in the community look forward to Light Up and I was one the kids that grew up with it and took the hayrides and did all that kind of stuff. I can appreciate that the tradition lives on regardless of the pandemic that we’re in,” he said.
While the ‘reverse parade’ format received mixed reactions from the public, Fedoretz says it was necessary to ensure it could be held amidst ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, the 2022 version will be left in the hands of the newly-formed community events committee.
“We wanted to host the Light Up parade this year as we have in past years, but given the changes in restrictions and how quickly they changed, we determined that this was our best bet to be able to host this event,” she said.