ROCKWOOD – The Rockwood Farmers’ Parade of Lights returns for its 30th year on Dec. 8.
“We have the most floats we’ve ever had,” exclaimed parade organizer Glenn Storey.
He says 25 floats, consisting of farm tractors and agricultural equipment adorned in Christmas lights and decorations, will light up the streets of Rockwood that Thursday night.
The parade begins at 7pm, just north of Rockwood’s village border, on 5th Line (Wellington Road 27/Main Street).
The parade will travel south to a stop light and turn west toward Guelph on Highway 7 before turning north on 4th Line (where parking is available) about 40 minutes later.
Parade organizers suggest arriving early to catch the parade through Rockwood before the village fills up.
Storey has been in the driver’s seat — of the parade and one of the floats — for two decades and finds the festive event rewarding all these years later.
“Every year there’s new, young faces that are so happy to see the floats,” he said.
“That’s probably the most rewarding part.”
Returning after a year away will be the Parkinson family’s maple syrup wagon, with syrup pales fashioned into the shape of a Christmas tree.
Storey’s Gleaner combine will get a break from harvesting crops as a crew takes a few nights to dress it up. And less demanding LED lights mean a single generator can power even more strings of lights.
Two years ago, the parade was parked by COVID but still drew thousands of viewers, Storey said.
Last year the parade returned to its normal format but float numbers have struggled in recent years.
Now, the numbers are back up, Storey said, and new participants who are “young and excited” are adding more lights than ever.
The parade is designed to raise awareness about agriculture and in a fun and engaging way, bringing big farm machines out from the fields and into the streets.
The parade started informally with around 10 farmers who decided to dress up their farm equipment for the Christmas season and ride through the village streets as a holiday gesture of goodwill to their non-farming neighbours.
At the time, night parades weren’t yet the norm.
As it grew, the Township of Guelph/Eramosa came on board to look after permits and assist with road closures and planning.
“We get a lot of help from the township,” Storey said.
Parade-goers will see newer and older machines alike, and of course, Santa Claus will make an appearance.
For more information, contact the parade organizing committee by emailing: email@example.com.