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Rockwood Farmers’ Parade of Lights celebrates 25th anniversary

Festive lights - The Rockwood Farmers’ Parade of Lights is set for Dec. 14.  Advertiser file photo

Rockwood Farmers’ Parade of Lights celebrates 25th anniversary

by Jaime Myslik

ROCKWOOD - The Rockwood Farmers’ Parade of Lights has put the village on the map.

“It’s always been a small-town image and once a year there’s sometimes thousands of people (that) come to the area, whether it’s in the village or on the Fourth Line,” said parade committee member Murray Swanston.

The parade will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year when it rolls through Rockwood on Dec. 14 at 7pm.

Swanston said the parade was started a quarter century ago by a group of neighbours on the Fourth and Fifth Lines of former Eramosa Township called the “March Blahs.” They saw photos of a piece of farm equipment decorated and wanted to try it out.

“It started off as a few people from the neighbourhood just going through the village of Rockwood without notice,” Swantson said.

“There were very few generators around to light the vehicles .. but things have evolved and everybody has one or two generators on their equipment to fuel the lights or to give the lights power.”

One group even ran a really long extension cord but Swanston said that didn’t work out so well.  

While there aren’t many guidelines as to who can and cannot participate in the parade, Swanston said an original rule was that every float had to involve a piece of agricultural equipment.

“There’s been antique equipment and there’s been modern ... most of it now is modern equipment ... in some cases large equipment,” Swanston said.

“And Santa Claus has always been on the combine at the end.”

The parade originally consisted of farmers from Eramosa Township, however, as farming evolved and there came to be fewer farmers in the local area, farmers from Puslinch and Erin also began participating, travelling through the day so they’re at the meeting point by 6:30pm in order to get to the parade starting point by 7pm.

This year Swanston anticipates there will be about 22 floats along the 3km parade route. While the parade lasts about 20 to 25 minutes from the first to the last float, Swanston said the entire 3km route will take about an hour to complete.

It will start at a farm on Wellington Road 27 by the Rockwood fire station and the OPP office, travel through the village, turn north up the Fourth Line and return to the original farm.

Parade goers can view the festive farm equipment from anywhere along the parade route. For those wanting to view from in town Swanston suggested arriving by 6:30pm and those planning to view the parade from the Fourth Line should arrive before 7:30pm.

“There’s usually ideal parking on the Fourth Line in the fields ... where people don’t ... have to get out of their vehicles if they don’t wish,” he said.

The Rockwood Lions Club offers parking assistance on the Fourth Line and will likely have a concession booth set up.

The Rockwood Farmers’ Parade of Lights has never been cancelled over its entire 25-year history.

“We’ve had some bad weather, been some snowy weather a few times and a few times extreme cold, but we’ve never had to cancel,” Swanston said.

However, he did say that usually something does go wrong.

“Somebody’s machine quits or the lights go out,” he said. “There’s usually some incident but nothing very serious.”

This year Swanston says there will be some different floats.

“The last few years people have been able to get lights moving in sequence ... with the new technology and so forth,” he said.

“So each year it’s a little bit different.”

For more information visit www.rockwoodfarmersparade.org.

 

December 8, 2017

 
 

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