The Legend of

This time of year Santa is said to be busy in his workshop making toys for good little girls and boys!! But in Rockwood, Santa already has his toys made, and shopping done. His soybeans and corn are harvested, and now he's trying to figure out just what he and Mrs. Claus should do to their combine for the "big" night.

Yes! This is a Farmer's Santa!! With his fall farm work under control, Mr. and Mrs. Claus will soon be decorating their combine with Christmas lights and other seasonal decorations to be ready for Rockwood's FARMERS' Santa Claus PARADE OF LIGHTS.

The parade is always held on the second Thursday in December. This will be the twentieth time that Santa and the local farmers have presented their FARMERS' PARADE OF LIGHTS. "The first year was very informal and spontaneous. A group of local farmers decided to dress up their farm equipment for the Christmas season and ride through the village streets as a holiday gesture of goodwill to their non-farming neighbours," reports Mr. Santa Claus.

"They called me and the Mrs. at the North Pole, to see if we'd join them on their tour. Since we already had our harvest off, we thought we'd bring the combine down for the night, so we wouldn't tire out Rudolph and the gang. It's a highlight of our season, and we wouldn't want to miss it!" Claus continued.

The joy, excitement and appreciation shown during the parade and as the farmers' met others during the year was enough to encourage a repeat performance. And so the tradition was born.

Each year's parade has been more spectacular than the previous, with residents, merchants and visitors to the community enthusiastically responding all year long, as to what the parade meant to them, and to 'please' do it again!!

This year the parade will feature about twenty area farms joining in the spirit of the season. Over two hundred farmers, their families, employees and friends will join in the fun, riding on the floats. Entry is by invitation only to ensure that the parade remains a success and that the goodwill gesture to the community continues. "The parade is strictly for fun." Says Murray Swanston, Parade Committee Chair. "There is absolutely no fundraising, advertising or fees connected with it."

If you come to the parade, you'll see thousands of Christmas lights shining brightly, along with garlands, ribbons and bows, Christmas trees fully decorated, and all the things you'd expect to see in a Santa Claus Parade. But remember, this parade is different, as each float will be farm-oriented.

You'll see the blending of old and current farming practices with the 'parade floats' being antique and modern tractors and equipment. You just may get your toes tapping as you watch a group of cloggers clogging as they roll by. There'll even be a dancing stable cleaner along for the fun, among other farm implements. And remember, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be riding their combine for the grand finale!

Past years saw the route crowded with parade goers coming from Rockwood and area, the further corners of Wellington County and many points across Southern Ontario. Special visitors from British Columbia and Australia also joined in the fun. It's a parade for all ages, from babies to the most senior of seniors. Once again the Guelph detachment of the OPP and the Eramosa Volunteer Fire Fighters will be helping escort and direct traffic for the safety of all.

The Parade was originally organized by a fun loving group known as 'The 3rd and 4th Line March Blahs
Committee and Friends". Their reputation precedes itself for bringing the community other 'strictly for fun' and successful events throughout the years, and this one will be no different. This year its organization is being passed on to a new committee, The Rockwood Farming Community.

So, if you want a special night with family and friends, that is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, be in Rockwood for this year's FARMERS' Santa Claus PARADE OF LIGHTS. Don't be late, the fun will begin at seven! Everyone from near and far is invited to come and catch the Christmas spirit.


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