Prepare, Ponoka shoppers: Almost Midnight Madness is almost here.
The premier shopping event of the year, the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce’s Almost Midnight Madness event, will take place on Nov. 20.
This year will also mark the second annual Santa Claus Parade.
The town is partnering with the chamber for the parade and Light Up Ponoka.
This year, in order to allow for physical distancing, the parade route has been expanded, and it will start at the arena parking lot rather than Ponoka Physio to allow more room for staging.
The parade will start at about 5 p.m. at the arena complex and travel to 46 Ave. passed the IGA complex, then north on Railroad St. (50 St.) to 51 Ave. to the post office, then head south on 51 St. to the Ponoka Community Market (old library) on 48 Ave. in time for the tree lighting at about 5:30 p.m.
The parade will pause to drop off some dignitaries for the lighting, which will be held next to the old library site, before continuing on its way back to the arena.
The parade will be lead by the RCMP in front.
Chamber executive manager Heather Bendera says Santa usually brings up the rear of the parade, however, the chamber is still waiting on confirmation if he will be able to make an appearance.
“We’re still waiting to see if Santa can make it down from the North Pole,” said Bendera.
“COVID-19 restrictions has made it a little difficult for Santa this year.”
The first parade had about 30 entries, and Bendera says the chamber is hoping for the same amount, if not more, this year.
If you wish to enter the parade, contact the chamber at 403-783-3888.
A parade route map is available on www.ponoka.ca.
Participating businesses will be offering deals all evening.
It’s up to the different businesses to decide how they want to participate, and the event is not exclusive to chamber members, says Bendera.
Shoppers will get a double stamp in their Passport to Christmas though, on Nov. 20, at participating businesses.
Passport to Christmas starts Nov. 12 and goes to Dec. 26.
The Ponoka Community Market will also be going in the Old library building. The Christmas markets will be at the Ponoka Jubilee Library (5605-50 Street).
Ponoka County and the Town of Ponoka are sponsoring fireworks over the river valley at 8:30 p.m.
“Thank you to the town and county for sponsoring the fireworks and for helping the chamber with this event,” said Bendera.
The town is encouraging citizens who come to watch the parade and participate in the festivities to wear a mask and to follow all provincial guidelines, such as physical distancing.
The town will so be live-streaming the parade and three lighting for those who would like to watch from home.
A light display will also be featured at Lions Centennial Park on Hwy. 2A.
Ponoka News food drive
Make sure to bring by a non-perishable food item to Ponoka News for our food drive benefiting the Ponoka Food Bank.
Those who make a donation, of either a food item or of cash, will be able to choose a gift certificate from our tree from participating businesses.