A plan to double the number of Santa Claus parades in Windsor isn’t sitting well with the Windsor Parade Corporation, on this, the very day the Downtown BIA plans to appeal for such a move before city council.
In fact, the Parade Corporation’s director of business development Dave Grimaldi, claims the upstart parade could damage the city’s reputation of putting on a superior seasonal show.
“If this second parade isn’t up to the quality of what has been established over the past 44 years, we’re afraid that to those outside the Windsor area, all the parades will be labelled the same,” Grimaldi told OurWindsor.ca. “We’re worried about it negatively affecting our brand.”
Grimaldi said that would hurt the chances of the Windsor-area attracting top out-of-town bands and other entries, who know what they are getting from the Windsor Parade Corporation - namely - an experienced, well-run show.
“We were aware that Larry Horwitz (of the BIA) was looking at doing this last spring. We told him to go to city administration and if they approved, we could make it work.
“Here we are now, just a few weeks before his parade, and he’s only now going before council.
“We start sending out our invitations to bands and such almost a year in advance,” he explained. “What kind of parade could the BIA put on in such a short time (if approved)?
This is our biggest fear.”
Horwitz, however, says those fears are completely unfounded, saying not only does he have a complete lineup already in place - including several bands, Clydesdale horses, superhero contingent and an array of floats - but that downtown business should be left to the very people it affects the most - the businesses downtown.
He says any problems that the Parade Corporation may have encountered in the past with businesses not being as receptive as they could have been to a downtown parade are just that - in the past.
“This is a different downtown and we’re trying to move forward,” Horowitz told OurWindsor.ca. “We have the University and College moving down here and we want people to come back downtown.
“We’re also paying for this ourselves, so we’re not asking for any money. This parade would be good for business and really act as an economic generator. It would be a real shame if council stopped us from having this. I’m pretty confident it will go through. I know of no other city that doesn’t have a parade on their main street.”
Grimaldi, however, said that the Parade Corporation’s motives for what they do is for anything but economic reasons.
“We do it for the smiles on the faces of thousands of kids who come out and wait for Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus to appear,” he said. “That’s the reason we’ve continued to put this on even in uncertain economic times - for the kids, not for the businesses.”
The Parade Corporation’s Santa Clause parade - which weaves it way through Sandwich, is scheduled for Dec. 1st. The new downtown parade would take place, pending approval, on Dec. 15th.