For the second year in a row, the Airdrie Canada Day Parade has been cancelled due to restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the committee that puts on the annual event is bringing back an alternative July 1 event from 2020 – the Canada Day house-decorating contest.
Sammy Morros, the co-chair of Airdrie Parades, said the committee has mixed feelings about the cancellation of the yearly parade. While they are disappointed to not be able to put on the local tradition once again, she added they are excited to bring back the city-wide house-decorating contest to help celebrate Canada's birthday.
“Of course, we’re disappointed the parade isn’t going to be able to go ahead, but it’s important we’re still doing something that is fun, safe and is going to align with public health restrictions,” she said.
“The home-decorating contest is back, and we’ve been hard at work brainstorming some new ways to make it bigger and better, with new prizes. We’ll come up with some new ways to involve businesses, charities and other organizations here in town.”
Last year, approximately 100 Airdrie households participated, according to Morros, adding the committee hopes to double the community participation this year. Local families garnished their houses, balconies and porches in plenty of red and white for the inaugural contest, and many added many Canada-themed gimmicks and decorations to their lawns, such as cardboard beaver cutouts, canoes and Adirondack chairs.
The event organizers included an interactive map for the inaugural contest, showing people where all the participating houses were located so they could follow along with the map on Canada Day and visit all the decorated homes.
“We saw lots of people out and about, following the map or checking out the different houses that were decorated,” Morros said. “It was a big success and something we’re excited to try out again.
“Even though COVID has taken something away, it’s given us a pretty cool opportunity.”
With Canada Day just eight weeks away, Morros said more details on the 2021 iteration will be posted on Airdrie Parades Facebook page in the coming weeks, including sign-up information, opportunities to get involved, sponsorship opportunities and more.