Chamber of Commerce inviting community to participate in Moonlight Madness, Christmas Car Parade
Tim Brody - Editor
The Sioux Lookout Chamber of Commerce is urging the community to shop local this holiday season.
To help people check off items on their Christmas lists, the Chamber is once again presenting their annual Moonlight Madness initiative, which will be a bit different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taking place this Friday (Nov. 27), Moonlight Madness will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at participating businesses. Traditionally, Moonlight takes place in the evening with participating businesses staying open late. Kayleigh Bates, Chamber of Commerce Executive Assistant, explained that by running the event through the day and evening, the goal is to reduce crowd sizes at any given time and, “just to give people more time to get out and shop.”
“We just want to encourage everyone to wear their masks while they’re in the stores and just be mindful of social distancing throughout the event,” she added.
“Each participating business will have a ballot box in their store. When you make a purchase, you can put your name and your phone number into that ballot box. In order to enter the draw, participants have to be 18 years of age or older” she explained.
“We wanted it to go ahead because it’s something we felt we could still run during COVID, because people are out shopping anyways,” Bates shared, adding, “Of course we wanted to change the hours to make it safer, but we also really want to encourage people to shop local this holiday season. Back when all this started, a lot of our local businesses had to close for a while and even when they were open, they were only doing curbside (pick-up), so they were hard hit.”
A new event the Chamber of Commerce will be presenting this holiday season is a Christmas Car Parade, which will take the place of the traditional Santa Claus Parade.
“The car parade is kind of inspired by the drive-thru opening ceremonies of the Blueberry Festival. We still wanted to do something around Christmastime. We didn’t want to cancel all the events just because people need something this year at Christmas. So we thought it would be good to still give the community something to look forward to and participate in,” Bates commented.
The Chamber will run the event in partnership with the Sioux Lookout Fire Department and Sioux Lookout OPP.
The car parade will take place at the Sioux Lookout Fire Hall at 39 Fifth Avenue on Sunday Dec. 6 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
People can decorate their vehicles to enter the contest portion of the drive-thru event, or just drive through to pick up a loot bag and see some special guests.
“We’ll have loot bags with some Christmas candy and a colouring contest and maybe some flyers in there from local businesses. Also, Santa will be there,” Bates said, adding, “We’re looking to have Sparky be there, Blueberry Bert might be there, and Smokey the Bear… We’ll also have a table for walk-ups too.”
Bates said, “We will be monitoring it very closely just to keep our numbers down. We don’t want to have too many people in one area due to COVID.”
Bates said, again due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Santa will not be available for photos at the event.
“It would be too hard to regulate the crowds on the street and the people on the floats,” Bates said of the cancellation of the traditional Santa Claus Parade due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“The OPP will be there and they will be doing their Stuff A Cruiser campaign. If people want to bring non-perishables or new toys, they’ll be able to donate them while they drive through,” Bates informed.
Anyone wishing to decorate their vehicle for the contest portion of the event is asked to register with the Chamber. Registration forms will be available on the Chamber’s website,
www.siouxlookout.com or by visiting their Facebook page. People can call the Chamber at 737-1937 for further details about any of the events they are running this holiday season.
Another casualty of the pandemic is the Chamber’s Festival of Trees event.
The Chamber still plans to light up the tree in Centennial Park.
In place of their traditional Last Minute Market, the Chamber will continue to host Pop-Up Shops at the Travel Information Centre through the rest of November and throughout the month of December.
“I just want to remind people to like our Facebook page and then also, if they have not, sign up for our mobile text alerts. We send out a lot of information through that,” Bates said. To subscribe to mobile text alerts, text Chamber_Events to 6622004303.