Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Santa Claus Parade in Holstein

On Saturday we drove to Holstein for their annual Santa Claus Parade. We heard about this at the Holstein Farmers Market in the summer, and thought it sounded very interesting. It's another non-food post creeping in, but hey! I do sometimes think about other things besides food.

Not that I planned to miss out on eating. We arrived around noon; I was uneasily aware that there isn't any restaurant in Holstein, but I hoped that with a planned start-time of 1:00 p.m. some food would be available. In fact, we could have gotten soup and sandwiches at the Optimist Club, a sausage (onna bun) by the variety store or, our choice, a bowl of chile with bread, cake and tea or coffee and a spot at a communal table in their basement, all for$5 at the Holstein Presbyterian Church. The cake was from a mix, but the chile was lovely, and what a deal.

Thus fortified, we headed out to the main street to wait.

The Holstein Santa Claus Parade is notable for being unmechanized. All the parade participants are either on foot, on horseback or in an animal-drawn wagon. Well, so it was advertised. In fact, there was exactly one motorized vehicle, which set the pace and started off the parade.

Next came a somewhat ad-hoc looking but tuneful little pipe band.

And then the parade proper began.

There were quite a number of people on horseback.

There were a lot of horse-drawn wagons.

With horses of considerably varying sizes.

One person brought his sheep.

One wagon had people singing carols, and another had a fiddle player in the back.

There were quite a few very light vehicles being pulled by miniature horses.

I think these are mules?

I was a bit surprised that there wasn't a lot of effort at costumes made by the participants. Lots of Christmassy hats, on both people and animals, but not many costumes. Also, while people decorated their wagons with tinsel etc, none of them were floats as such.

The result was a very different feel from any Santa Claus parade I've been to before. It was obviously much more of a community event, where the point was not to come and watch but to bring your animal friends and parade.

There were even a few small vehicles being pulled by dogs. One dog opted to be a passenger, and a very good passenger he was, too; staying calmly seated in his sled all the way along the parade route.

And finally, Santa Claus went by, thus ending the parade. I understand Santa returned to the park to consult with his constituency later on.

We got onto the road and followed the parade up the street to the place where we had parked. It took us a while to get back on the open road, what with all the traffic, but we were all very satisfied that it was a day well-spent.


nefaeria said...

Now, that's the way to do a Santa parade! Horses, ponies, mules, and even a sheep :D

nefaeria said...

Oops, and forgot to mention puppies!