If you like horses, then the Russell Santa Claus parade was right down your alley. These two and their lovely wagon were the first to be seen, but they were followed by many more. See page 16 for the full story.  Tinkess Photo

RUSSELL – Russell is a fast-growing community, about 18 per cent in the last five years or so I’m told. It is also a community with an abundance of community spirit and that was on full display last Sunday afternoon when Santa Claus came to town and joined a parade in his honour.

The parade started on the southern edge of the village at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School. With the road closed to vehicular traffic not involved in the parade, there was a lot of room for crowds to gather on either side of the roadway and gather they did.

The weather was perfect as the first vehicle (a firetruck of course) started to roll. Lights don’t shine quite so bright under the midday sun, but there’s a lot to say about the warmth of that sun on your face as well.

Russell had an interesting mix of floats and vehicles as part of their parade. Silsby, the little pumper that saved the Police Village of Russell from being completely burned in 1915, and the subject of a children’s book by Tom Van Dusen made an appearance along with a truck from the Bytown Fire Brigade.

If you were looking for reindeer, you would have been disappointed as they were all occupied elsewhere (probably resting up for the big day). Horses, on the other hand were very plentiful. There was a beautiful wagon drawn by a couple of horses, and it was followed moments later by what can best be described as a herd. There were big horses and small horses, brown horsed and black horses, horses with tightly cropped mane and one with a long, flowing blonde mane. Most of these were being ridden by children. It was certainly unexpected, but certainly appreciated.

There were local celebrities as well. Mayor Pierre Leroux and Councillor Lisa Deacon were seen, greeting everyone they encountered and extending seasons greetings.

There were hockey teams and dance groups, and singing, and many, many smiles.

Finally, the big moment came as Santa, accompanied by Mrs. Claus rolled by, carefully looking to see who was being naughty and who was being nice.

As the last vehicle drove off into the distance, you could be excused if you felt that it was hard to believe that Christmas was now less than a month away. The children, however understood that the countdown had started, and the best was yet to come.