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Parade of Lights saved by concerned citizens

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The Parade of Lights has a new lease on life thanks to a group of concerned citizens who have stepped up to take over organizing duties from the Dauphin Knights of Columbus.
The future of the parade was in doubt after the local service club announced earlier this month that it would no longer organize the parade.
“We have created a committee,” group spokesperson Pam Werbiski said, adding there was about 10 to 15 people at the inaugural meeting and another 10 to 15 who are willing to help out.
“So we can keep it going. The parade is part of the community. It has been around forever. It is the kind of thing that if you cancel, you lose the spirit of Christmas. It is important. It’s important for the kids and seniors in the community and, you know, everybody that goes out and enjoys it. It’s kind of a kickoff to Christmas.”
With the parade scheduled for Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m., and currently no plans in place to run the day’s slate of activities that normally accompany the event, Fort Dauphin Museum has partnered with the group to run its Christmas at the Fort the same day.
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. that day Fort Dauphin will host a full slate of activities including wagon rides with Norman Long, children’s activities, story time with Mrs. Claus, an Old Time Christmas Concert, a bake sale, raffles and much more.
“We will have a visit from Santa at 3 p.m.,” said Fort Dauphin manager/curator Theresa Deyholos.
“When we had a discussion about how the day is going to look during the parade, some of the activities that the Knights weren’t able to put on, which was the horse and wagon rides, the movie and skating, that left a gap in the day.”
There will also be a Parkland League for Life-sponsored pancake breakfast at the Knights on 11th Hall, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., that will feature a visit from Santa Claus from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
“It took partnerships to make this day possible and that is very important. It helped the Knights to be able to transition,” Deyholos said.
Grand Knight Ken Yakielashek said there was interest in taking over expressed by other individuals and organizations such as Dauphin Consumers Co-op, but none that were ready to proceed this fall.
The local Knights, he said, are pleased the group has stepped forward to take on the work and the group will stay involved this year to help out.
“We are slowly going to hand it over. For this year, we will stay involved for insurance purposes and other things. We will kind of keep it together for this year,” he said.
“Throughout the year as other people gain experience they will have time to organize and get things together.
“It’s nice to see that there is continued interest in it and people are willing to pick up the ball and carry it.”
The group is accepting parade entries now and although they would like to know as soon as possible what kind of interest there is in the community, they will be accepting entries right up until the day of the parade.
Anyone interested in entering a float, or donating towards the cost of the day can contact Werbiski at 204-572-6402 or Crystal Delaurier at 204-647-1155.
The group is also interested in hearing from anyone interested in helping to organize the day.
“I think once we get it figured out we will be okay. But you can always use extra help. You can make things bigger and better with more people,” Werbiski said.