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Candy Cane Lane event in Yarmouth Nov. 23

Barb Firth is the event co-ordinator for the Candy Cane Lane Association.
Barb Firth is the event co-ordinator for the Candy Cane Lane Association. - Carla Allen photo

Spectators will be able to view stationary floats up close and safely

YARMOUTH, N.S. —

A new Christmas festival for Yarmouth on Nov. 23 will offer a much-improved version of a traditional holiday parade.

Barb Firth, event co-ordinator for the Candy Cane Lane Association, approached Yarmouth town council in August with the novel idea for a “stationary parade” and the request was approved.  

The Saturday night event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. the evening after the Friday tree-lighting at town hall. 

Floats will be parked in the middle of the street, running on generators, batteries or inverters from their hauling truck for lights. The event will occupy Main Street from Forest or Cliff street to Frost Park, depending on the number of entries. 

"This is all about giving back to the community and we really wanted to keep it that way."

 Firth says the event will basically be the same as a parade but with people moving instead of the floats. 

“If someone wants to come and bring a float and have a band on it, that would be fantastic,” she said.

She says businesses can participate by offering specials in-store but that anything associated with the festival should be free to the public. 

“We’ve also asked for no sidewalk sales because there’s plenty of other opportunities to do those." Firth said. "This is all about giving back to the community and we really wanted to keep it that way."

Once the entries arrive in the viewing area, trucks need to stay attached to their float for the three-hour festival. 

“You can’t come for just an hour,” said Firth.

There may be carolers, she said, and some participants may erect portable canopies to give out hot chocolate or hot apple cider. 

The festival name refers to the large candy canes that were hung along Main Street many years ago during the Christmas season.

Many have fond memories of “candy cane lane” and Firth looked into resurrecting the tradition. However, the estimated cost for each cane was a prohibitive $2,000. 

“We tried to think of something that would be just as nice and came up with four-foot-high, painted, wooden candy canes,” she said.

Forty candy canes were made and were available for memorial sponsorship. Within one day of being offered they were all spoken for.

Those who purchased the canes can specify the name of someone they want to memorialize.

More candy canes will be available in future years for a sponsorship of $25. Sponsorship for two years is $20/year. The candy canes remain the property of the Candy Cane Lane Association and will be put on display in a central location for viewing. 

Firth says there has been a lot of great support for the festival idea and the candy cane theme. 

“It’s just such a better way to go,” she said. The stationary floats are a safer alternative to those that are moving.

Last year, on Nov. 24, four-year-old MaCali Cormier fell under a passing float in the town’s Christmas parade. She was transported by EHS to the Yarmouth Regional Hospital but died.

Firth says the festival’s transportation committee will be working with Yarmouth County Ground Search & Rescue and that Yarmouth resident Karen Doucette has volunteered to organize “candy cane helpers” to assist those who are mobility-challenged, including seniors, to experience the event.  

The theme for the event is jingle all the way, but participants can decorate however they wish.

Overwhelmed by the response, Firth hopes people will get in the spirit and come up with some great ideas for floats. 

“Being stationary is even more fun because people can build upwards,” she said. 

To participate

Candy Cane Lane Festival entry forms are available at Yarmouth Town Hall, the Yarmouth YMCA and Friends of Jane’s. 

Truck operators bringing a float to the event must take a photocopy of their vehicle insurance and include it with the entry form. No extra insurance is necessary but your vehicle does have to be insured.

The Candy Cane Lane has a Facebook Page 

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