Ho, ho, ho! … Santa arrives first in Muskoka via Bala

A photo with Santa is Grandma Cooper’s early Christmas present from Alex Hogg, four.

Photos by Lois Cooper | MuskokaTODAY.com

BALA – It was a jolly St. Nick here Saturday afternoon as the fine fellow in red suited up for his first official parade appearance of the Christmas holiday season.

Muskoka Lakes may-elect Phil Harding, left, councillors, organizers and residents celebrate another great parade before joining the crowds inside the Community Centre in Bala.

He brought sunshine, and before him a lot of floats and enough sweet treats to fill hundreds of kiddie bags at the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event.

With three bands – the Muskoka Concert Band, the Orillia Silver Band and the Bracebridge Legion Pipe Band – and dozens of cars and trucks decorated in their festive best, they joined more than 100 marchers who wished several hundred more watching along the Hwy. 169 route Merry Christmas and otherwise entertained with singing and dancing.

Mayor Phil Harding and some of his new council wished everyone well.

As the parade wended its way from its formation in front of the Kee to Bala, and to the Community Centre – for hot chocolate, hot dogs, a visit and photo with Santa and a chance to sit on his knee and tell him what you wanted for Christmas – it flew through the stop light on the bridge where the new hydro station is under construction.

Missing was any sign of Swift River or a float from them.

Still, the people in Bala were united in their smiles and best wishes for the season.

And all it took was Santa to give everyone a huge smile and big wave of his white-gloved hand.

If you missed him in Bala, he’s in Gravenhurst this weekend, at 11 a.m. for the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce parade.

After that he’s in Huntsville Friday night Nov. 30 at 7 p.m.; and then Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. in Bracebridge.

He’s also in Baysville and Georgian Bay later.

He was in Orillia last Sunday, Nov. 18.

And here we go … the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce Santa Claus parade begins in Bala.
The Muskoka legions colour guard lead the long parade.
The Bracebridge Legion Pipe and Drum band looked good and sounded great.


The drummers don’t always get their picture in the paper – not this time.
A team of great looking horses keep in step with the official parade party carriage.
Here’s some happy cowgirls riding high on a sunny day.
The Muskoka Shriners are not only helpful in the community but a fun bunch.
Shriner president David Forth prefers a golf cart to carrying the colours.
What’s parade without the antique Shriner fire truck.
The Muskoka Shrine motor scooter acrobatic team cross the Bala Falls bridge.
Two Annes – with ice cream cones – from the Bala Museum were a popular part of the parade.
The United Churches in Bala and Port Carling brought along a choir and organist.
Free poinsettias from Hy’s Motel and garden centre are always welcomed.
The Muskoka Concert Band entertained with their spirited Christmas carols.
The Orillia Silver Band drew a warm welcome to this year’s parade.
The Gravenhurst Anglers hockey team gave out free tickets to a game.
This beautiful angelic float with Rudolph was one of the most illuminating.


The Bala Morph Men looked cold – but cool.
These candy cane goats were a lively hit with parade fans.


With much anticipation, Santa arrived to much applause and mutual waving of hands.