Following the cancellation of this year's Canada Day parade due to COVID-19, the Airdrie Parade Committee (APC) is launching an alternative event July 1 to help Airdronians celebrate Canada’s birthday.
This year, APC will run the Airdrie Canada Day Home Decorating Contest. According to Social Media Director Sam Morros, the idea came from Mayor Peter Brown's daughter.
“I don’t know where she got the idea from but we’re happy she had it," Morros said. “The idea is to kind of do a reverse parade – instead of having folks gather in one place to watch the floats go by, they go on their own to check out the ‘floats’ or display homes."
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Morros said residents are encouraged to garnish their balconies, driveways, doorsteps or their entire homes with plenty of red and white. Decorations should have a general Canadian theme and be completed before July 1.
She added the city will be divided into quadrants, with a separate judge deciding the best houses in each area based on creativity and community spirit. The judges’ selections will then go to a community vote, with the most popular entries receiving prize packs that will be provided by local businesses.
“We will have first-, second- and third-place prizes in each quadrant," she said. “The first place prize is a $500 prize pack, and it goes down from there."
The judges include Brown, Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt and Banff-Airdrie MP Blake Richards. Morros said the committee was taking nominations for a fourth judge up until June 2, and is still deciding who it will be.
The committee is hoping for at least 500 total entrants in the decorating contest, she added, and the deadline to register is June 24. Registered households must be within Airdrie city limits, displays must be visible from the street and social distancing regulations, as defined by Alberta Health Services, must still be observed.
Morros said APC will supply an interactive map to interested residents prior to the event, so those who wish to drive around town to check out the entries can plan their own routes.
APC announced the cancellation of this year's Canada Day parade April 27. Shortly after, the City of Airdrie announced its fireworks display, which is typically held in the evening July 1, would be postponed.
While APC was disappointed to cancel its annual parade, Morros said the community response to the new idea has been enthusiastic and she looks forward to seeing the decorations.
“We’re super happy with how it’s going," she said. “I think everyone is really excited to have a non-COVID-related thing to focus on."