Three Decembers ago, a few buddies dressed up in Santa outfits during a neighbourhood Christmas party and walked door-to-door around their cul-de-sac in south Richmond singing Christmas carols - and so the Shellmont Christmas Parade was born.
This year, the parade - which features four minivans playing seasonal music and covered in Christmas lights and giant inflatable holiday decorations - expects to draw about 100 participants from the Ironwood area and beyond, said Jeff Joseph, one of the four "founding fathers" of the event.
"It starts at Woodward Elementary (10300 Seacote Rd.) and ends at the Tim Hortons in Ironwood Plaza," said Joseph, who has lived with his wife in the neighbourhood for almost 10 years.
The first couple of times around they didn't stray far from their homes on Seacote. This year, the group will venture around most of the streets that begin with "Sea."
"We go up to houses that have a lot of lights on, and the kids will sing a song. My Santa costume is quite authentic - it definitely feels like we have a real Santa. Kids come to the window, every year we get more and more. Last year people started joining us on the parade and we got more people as we went," he said.
Steve Scarrow is another founding member and long-time Richmond resident who said one particular house on nearby Sealord Road was one of the major reasons they decided to put on an event.
"We've lived in the neighbourhood for 13 years, and (the owner) has had this great display that everybody who has kids drives by to check out," said Scarrow.
"He actually has "Ho Ho Ho" in bright lights on the side of his house, we all call it the Ho Ho Ho House. We did the parade as a tribute."
Scarrow said he picked Shellmont as the name to give it a traditional feel, which is what locals used to call the area between Williams Road, No. 5 Road, Shell Road and Steveston Highway.
He hopes that other neighbourhoods will follow suit and create their own versions.
"The cool thing is you see a lot of seniors. Maybe their kids have grown up and Christmas is not as big a deal anymore, you see how excited they are when they come outside. Ninety-eight per cent of the response we get is that (the parade) is awesome."
The Shellmont Christmas parade starts at 7 p.m. tonight (Friday) at Woodward Elementary and runs for about an hour and a half. Costumes are optional but encouraged.
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