The Parks and Recreation Department down in Assiniboia pulled out all the stops this season to spread Christmas Cheer while keeping the community safe.

From a modified Santa Claus Parade to hosting their 67th annual Rotary Carol Festival online, the Parks and Rec team worked tirelessly this year to make sure Christmas could still happen.

Recreation & Community Wellness Manager, Stephanie VanDeSype is a fan of all things Christmas and says that keeping the spirit of the season alive was more important this year than ever.

"I knew that everybody would be home for Christmas and that people would be looking for something to do."

The community's annual "Lights of Love" event in late November continued the tradition of honouring the passing of loved ones. In total, over $3,000 was raised to decorate trees in Assinboia's Centennial Park. Not stopping there, VanDeSype also reached out to families interested in being a part of a Twinkle Tour showcasing the best decorations around town.

"[During that event] we usually get together for coffee and games. It's really a close-knit event. But this year was virtual and it worked great as well. People could vote online for their favourite home and we got a lot of responses."

In addition to their usual offerings, they added a town-wide Christmas scavenger hunt that families could complete together.

"It was a very big scavenger hunt. I think it was twenty pages long. We took pictures of something unique in someone's yard on every street in Assiniboia. It wasn't something that people could complete in one evening so they had from December 19th to the 31st. We had 92 families participate so a huge turnout for us."

VanDeSype says the residents of Assiniboia make her job an easy one to do.

"Assiniboia residents are really supportive of all the rec programming. I find that they are really looking for things to do. People here love where they live and they are happy to support what we have going on. That makes my job really fun."

All in all, even though the year was like none other, VanDeSype says they were able to overcome the difficulties of the current restrictions and still have a wonderful Christmas.

"I don't feel like we missed out on anything because of COVID this year. We just found a different way to make it all happen."

 

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