The reverse Christmas parade takes place on December 19th, 2020 in Cranbrook. It will feature many houses decorated with lights (like the one pictured), as well as other fun surprises along the way. (Barry Coulter file)

The reverse Christmas parade takes place on December 19th, 2020 in Cranbrook. It will feature many houses decorated with lights (like the one pictured), as well as other fun surprises along the way. (Barry Coulter file)

Connect Church to host reverse Christmas parade

The reverse parade allows families to take part from the comfort of their vehicles

2020 has been a tough year for so many people, but Connect Church in Cranbrook has set out to remedy that by bringing some joy and happiness to the community with a reverse Christmas parade.

Jennifer Spyksma is a director with Connect Church. She explained that a few weeks ago her and her fellow directors were discussing the current state of affairs during a meeting, when the idea sparked to host a reverse parade.

“We were all really feeling the heaviness of COVID,” she said. “We just heard that the Santa Claus Parade was cancelled and we thought how hard this year has been for so many people.

“That’s when I said, ‘we need some fun!’ the idea sparked out of wanting to bring joy and fun to the community, as well as wanting to serve the community.”

The reverse parade dubbed, ‘Shining Light Into the Darkness’ will take place on Saturday, December 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The route is available on mobile devices through the Google Maps app and anyone is free to drive the route at their leisure between these times. Houses will be decorated with lights and other holiday spectacles. There will also be opportunities to give back to the community.

Spyksma hopes the reverse parade will bring families together in a different way.

“You know, a lot of people have been spending a lot of time with their families and maybe they’re spending more time inside. Many of the typical Christmas events and activities have been cancelled this year. We hope this can bring families together and allow them to do something a little different.”

All of the event and route information is available on the ‘Connect Church Presents: Reverse Christmas Parade’ Facebook event page. Route maps are also available at Connect Church, via their mailbox.

READ MORE: Cranbrook Santa Claus parade cancelled

READ MORE: Physically distanced photos with Santa

“There will be many fun surprises along the way including some pop-ups from ‘famous’ Christmas characters,” she said. “There will be Christmas carols on the radio and an amazing prize for the best dressed house. There will also be a scavenger hunt for kids to participate in, with a number of prizes from local businesses.”

Spyksma says the event is following strict COVID-19 guidelines and everyone is asked to remain in their vehicles for the entirety of the route.

“The great thing is that there is no need to leave your vehicle,” she explained. “Everything is visual and non-contact. We ask that you stay in your car and only travel with the people in your household. This is definitely a family activity, but of course you can honk at your neighbours and friends when you drive past them.”

Spkysma wants to thank the community for their support and willingness to turn her idea into a reality.

“The community has responded in such a tremendous way,” Spyksma said. “I’m organizing it, but really it is the community who has made this happen. Local businesses and non-profits have reached out; I have volunteers calling to ask how they can help. We are certain that this evening will bring our community together to share in the Christmas spirit.”

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