This past weekend we rallied together as students to finish up our first (of what will hopefully become an annual tradition) Christmas float for the Niagara-On-The-Lake Santa Claus Parade.
Over the past month or so, various groups of students have been getting together in the evening to build the float. The general idea was to create a miniature Willowbank, columns and all. It was a great community building project and we were excited to participate in the greater NOTL community.
Come the Friday night before the parade and it was down to the wire. We worked into the wee hours getting everything in place. We painted, we hammered, we plastered, and we sawed and come Saturday morning we were ready to hoist it onto the trailer, attach the porch and columns and begin putting on the final decorative Christmas touches.
Then we got the show on the road. After a nerve-wracking drive down Concession Road and into NOTL, we made it there with almost everything still intact and only had to stop a few times to pick up falling columns.
We had an amazing turn out of Willowbank students and we proudly paraded down the road with a rather heavy banner (the plywood Willowbank sign). It turns out that the NOTL parade is quite huge (we were float #68!); we waved a lot and said “Merry Christmas” even more and we were pretty tired by the end of our tour through town.
It was great to be out with our whole gang of students and bring a bit of Willowbank out of Queenston right into NOTL proper! Overall it was an amazing success – though we do have some insights into what we will do to make it even better next year. As a side project, we also ran a food drive for Newark Neighbours and between the donations from our generous friends of Willowbank at the Christmas party and the donations on the day of the parade, we were able to raise a generous amount.
We would like to thank John Bell (Ashleigh’s dad) for making the drive down to Niagara to pull our float. We would also like to thank The Residences at Queenston Quarry for generously contributing to the supply fund for the float; as well as Penner Lumber and Building Supply for a generous donation of some lumber.
On behalf of the students of Willowbank, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!