2 Island Christmas celebrations cancelled due to COVID-19
Two public Christmas celebrations on Vancouver Island have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic for a second straight year.
The Peninsula Celebrations Society announced in a Facebook post Saturday that the Sidney Sparkles Christmas Parade would not return in 2021 out of "an abundance of caution surrounding COVID-19."
Similarly, organizers of Ladysmith's Festival of Lights announced Thursday that the town's Light Up celebration, scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 25, will be cancelled.
The annual Light Up Parade typically draws 25,000 people to the town, many of them lining 1st Avenue to watch Santa flip the switch on over 200,000 lights.
Lights will still be set up in Ladysmith this year on the first Sunday in November, and they will be turned on Nov. 25, but without a large gathering. Organizers say those interested in volunteering to help set up lights can get in touch to be added to the schedule.
"This decision to cancel Light Up for this year has been made with a view towards our responsibilities to this community," organizers said in a news release.
"Potentially, the health of our members, various service groups, the many volunteers and our community could be placed at risk by staging a large public gathering. Festival of Lights determined that cancellation of these festivities was the only responsible option under these circumstances."
Back in Sidney, the cancellation of the Sidney Sparkles parade comes just days after the event was included in a list of holiday parades expected to return this year by the Greater Victoria Festivals Society.
Three other parades - the 39th Peninsula Co-op Santa Claus Parade on Nov. 27, the IEOA Truck Light Convoy and Food Drive on Dec. 4, and the Esquimalt Light Parade on Dec. 6 - appeared to still be on for 2021 as of Sunday.