ANTIGONISH: For the second year in a row, jingle bells, Christmas lights, and Saint Nick himself will not be parading down Antigonish’s Main Street.

Following the Town of Antigonish’s regular council meeting on Nov. 15, Mayor Laurie Boucher told reporters council is extremely sorry there won’t be a Santa Claus parade this holiday season.

“It’s really hard to plan such an event like that, without any reassurances that the COVID conditions wouldn’t change,” Boucher said. “Our staff (weren’t) comfortable planning something where people were gathering on Main Street, shoulder-to-shoulder.”

In addition to the hundreds of community members that would be taking to Main Street, the mayor also pointed to the fact the numerous participants in the parade would also be in close proximity to one another.

Boucher advised that after some tough negotiations with Santa’s representatives at The North Pole, they are allowing him to once again come and visit the local communities himself.

“We decided to go with Santa visiting the communities again,” she said. “It was very popular last year, and we’ll do it again this year.”

Additionally, the town will be hosting story times, drive-in movie nights, and during the Moonlight Madness Downtown Celebration, Boucher advised council will be handing out hot chocolate.

On Friday, Nov. 26, the town will be closing a portion of Main Street to be walking only from 5 to 9 p.m. On top of the free hot chocolate available from Tim Hortons, there will be a pop-up performance from Smith Highland Dancers and Christmas music to get people in the spirit of the season.

Lisa Delorey Photography will be onsite offering people the chance to get a free family photo, just in time for the holiday season.

Registration for the Hometown Christmas Drive-In Movies is now open, with the movies Elf and Christmas with the Kranks playing at Antigonish Market Square on Nov. 27; The Grinch 2 and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation playing at the Tracadie Fire Hall on Dec. 11; and Home Alone and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation playing at Antigonish Market Square on Dec. 18.

To reserve a space, visit: https://app.bookking.ca/recantigonishcountypub/.

Only one registration per vehicle is required, and as there is limited space available, registration will be given on a first come first serve basis. Instructions for arrival and parking will be sent via email with your online registration confirmation.

If someone plans on attending both movies, they will be required to submit two separate registration forms.

“I don’t think people will be disappointed,” Boucher said. “There will be lots to do with the kids.”