It might not feel a lot like Christmas yet but the next month is chock full of holiday events in south Muskoka.
This weekend Port Carling plays host to south Muskoka’s only night time parade on Nov. 19, starting off at 6:30 pm.
The parade begins at Ferndale Road and Joseph St., and winds its way along Joseph Street, ending at the Community Centre. The fun doesn’t end there, as the parade will be immediately followed by a visit with Santa, as well as hot dogs and hot chocolate at the Community Centre.
Muskoka Lakes Township continues to be a hopping holiday location on the following Saturday, Nov. 25, as they hold their annual tree lighting and carol sing.
The event takes place at the Bala Community Centre on Maple Ave. The festivities start at 7 PM, and organizers point out that the event is being held outdoors – so dress accordingly. The event’s being hosted by the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce, and you can reach them 705-762-5663 for more information.
On the same day, the Gravenhurst BIA is hosting their annual Black Friday and Tree Lighting Celebrations in the downtown area.
The event gets underway at 6 pm, with the tree lighting set to take place in the Heritage Square, out front of the Gravenhurst Opera House.The BIA has a lot planned for the evening as they will have Mrs. Claus on hand, Victorian carolers, carriage rides and two different contests running.
The celebration continues the next day with Gravenhurst’s 63rd annual Santa Claus Parade. This year’s theme is “dreaming of a white Christmas.”
“This year we want to take Gravenhurst back to those classic Christmases of yesteryear,” says Sandy Lockhart, the executive director of the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce which organizes the annual parade. “We can all picture those traditional Christmas scenes – the family gathered around a roaring fire, decorations placed with care, ornaments on the tree and the snow softly falling outside. Where the float ideas go from there is only limited by imagination.”
The parade kicks off at 11 a.m., heading out from the Gravenhurst Legion, before proceeding down First Street and then onto Muskoka Road. Afterwards, Santa himself will be available to meet the young ones (and the young at heart) in the Terry Fox Room at the Gravenhurst Centennial Centre.
It’s Bracebridge’s turn the following weekend with Santa’s Moonlight Shopping Party featuring the Festival of the Lights on Dec. 2.
The annual event officially launches the holiday season with the lighting of Downtown. This year the organizers at the Bracebridge BIA have a lot planned, including wagon rides, a campfire, living window displays from the Bracebridge School of Ballet and Fireworks courtesy of the Bracebridge Rotary Club. The event gets rolling at 6 PM.
The next night on Dec. 3, the focus turns to Bala for the Trek to Bethlehem.
The trek draws big crowds every year, as residents from the town come together to transform Bala’s streets into a biblical village reenacting the first Christmas.
It’s a free event, which runs between 6 and 8:30 PM, starting out from the Bala Community Centre. This one is also an outdoor event so dress warmly.
The final Santa Claus Parade for South Muskoka takes place in Bracebridge and is held on the afternoon of Dec. 4 starting at 1 PM.
Immediately after the parade Santa will be available for the children in Memorial Park, and there will be hot chocolate to help warm up guests as well.
The theme for the 71st annual Bracebridge parade is an International Christmas.