Christmas Parade faces the axe

Christmas Parade faces the axe

Throwback to last year’s parade when Mr and Mrs Claus made an appearance. Photograph - Richard Polden

The fate of the City of Armadale Christmas Parade will be decided next week.

The city’s officers made a case to kill off the parade and divert its funding to the well-attended and praised Carols by Candlelight in a report to the Community Services Committee last week.

The Christmas Parade has been a festive fixture in the city’s calendar since 2013. But participation in the event has been dwindling since Covid.

The city’s officers reasoned that “the 2023 date competed with Christmas parades held at the City of Perth and the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale”.

“At this stage it will be the same situation in 2024, for the same scheduling reasons. The competing dates can impact the numbers of both spectators and participants,” they said.

Community feedback from the event has also been fairly negative, with some people commenting that the long gaps in between participating groups was a real downer.

“The carols were great but the parade, I’m sorry, was a real disappointment. Why not get more of the community involved and not have it on the same night as the city parade.

“I am sure there would be marching bands, other groups that would participate. Maybe look at doing some kind of incentive for groups to participate,” one person said.

But another stressed the importance of holding a local parade “especially with the train lines down making it harder to access the city pageant”.

Officers suggested a range of improvements if more money was made available.

“With the allocation of additional funds, there is scope to improve the Christmas Parade with floats, increasing the number of paid performers and inviting local businesses to participate,” they said.

The Armadale Kelmscott Lions Club were proud participants in last years’ parade.
Photograph – Richard Polden.

But they warned that putting more effort into the parade would spread staff thin, and recommended doing away with the parade altogether to concentrate on the carols.

They said the money saved from the parade could be used to pay for more free family activities like Christmas tree decorating, letters to Santa, or selfie spots during the carols. It could also be used to pay for more performers (including roving performers), or a ‘meet Santa’ opportunity.

But councillors on the committee were having none of it; they ignored the officers’ recommendation and instead unanimously voted to continue the parade and expand it by looking at pumping some more money into it.

The motion will come before the full council next Monday for a determination.