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Santa Claus parade returns to Fort Macleod streets

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The 39th annual Fort Macleod Santa Claus parade returned on Saturday to a cheerful crowd.

Attendees that lined Main Street were surprised with real reindeer and cowboy Joel Lybbert, who was riding his four-year-old bison Indy, to ring in the festive spirit

“He’s got his winter coat on so he’s all fluffy and raring to go,” Lybbert said.

“Any way that I can help out and spread Alberta Christmas spirit, I’m happy to do so, and Indy’s a great way to do that.”

The previous two parades were canceled due to the pandemic, but this year, the event took place in full force and Indy wasn’t the only one raring to kick off the festive season.

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“Everyone was like, ‘Yay… Finally.. Yes.’ So we had lots of really great responses that way,” parade organizer Sydney Tobler said.

The parade started as a small event in 1981 as an effort to bring more business to the town. It’s since grown to include more than 100 festive floats.

“We get around 10 to 12,000 people that come out and we’re a town of 2,500 so this is really amazing,” Tobler said.

Tobler added the parade has become a great way to get everyone in the holiday spirit.

“Christmas isn’t a joyous time for a lot of people, and so we find that no matter what walks of life you come from, this is something that you can all come and enjoy,” she said.