Rotary club looks at the future of the parade
By Angelica Ingram
Feb. 21, 2017
For more than 50 years spectators have lined the street to watch the colourful and entertaining Haliburton Rotary parade make its way through town, however that tradition may soon come to an end.
The annual parade falls in line with the club’s summer carnival, held just after the civic long weekend in August.
What was once a main attraction for area camps, lodges and resorts has dwindled in participation numbers, said Haliburton club president Richard van Nood.
“There’s been a steady decline in the amount of participants and most notable the types of participants,” he said. “I guess in the heyday they had a lot of camps and lodges, but how many lodges are around right now that are that size and the camps just don’t seem to get involved anymore.”
The club members have been having conversations about the parade’s future for some time, entertaining the idea of replacing the event with something new.
Recently the club has opened up the discussion to the public through social media, posting an update on Facebook and asking for input on the future of the parade.
“Many Haliburton residents recall fond memories of when local camps and businesses poured spirit into competing with their elaborate floats for the top title and trophy,” reads the Facebook post. “With Dysart celebrating 150 years, we are a community with a rich history including traditions such as the parade.”
The club is encouraging the public to share their memories of the parade as well as opinion on whether or not the parade should continue.
The parade’s future will have no impact on the carnival and its festivities, such as the fireworks, which will continue to take place in August, said van Nood.
The president says the parade takes months of preparation and always has a theme.
“It’s just been tough,” he said. “Maybe it’s just run its course.”
The Haliburton club has been in existence since 1944, which was around the same time the carnival started, said van Nood.
A Rotarian for 11 years, van Nood said last year’s parade had between 20 and 30 floats. He said some groups, such as the Haliburton Scouts, are very creative with their entry.
“I remember at one time, Wigamog [resort] was still going and they used to send a group and they were lively,” he said.
The president said he understands why it can be hard for businesses and organizations to commit to the parade, as the summertime is the busy season for the area.
Van Nood says the club has been talking about new ideas to replace the parade, if that decision is made, however it’s too early to discuss details.
“We don’t want to give up on the entertainment value for the community,” he said. “We still want people to come into town for more than just the rides.”
The future of the Rotary parade will have no impact on the Santa Claus parade, which is organized by the Haliburton and District Lions Club.
To weigh in on the parade discussion, visit the Rotary Club’s Facebook page by searching Haliburton Rotary Club.