Keep your ears open if you are out and about in Walnut Grove the evening of Dec. 20 – you’ll likely hear the sounds of Christmas.
Firefighters from Hall 8 Walnut Grove, with the assistance of Alder Acres, will be escorting Santa on a wandering route through Walnut Grove that Sunday.
The carolling parade will start at 6 p.m. at the fire hall on 208th Street and 96th Avenue.
The carollers will travel past Gordon Greenwood Elementary, James Kennedy Elementary, and Walnut Grove Secondary School, Walnut Grove Community Centre and then across 88th Avenue, up past Alex Hope Elementary School and winding back through the neighbourhoods between 212th Street, 214B Street and 95th Avenue, across 96th Avenue, up Yeomans, and then through Derby Hills before heading home.
During the event, non-perishable food donations will be accepted, and will go to the Langley Food Bank.
The Hall 8 carolling event has been taking place for more than 20 years, said Lt. Dave Haralds from Hall 8.
“It is an event that allows the firefighters and their families to say thank you to the community of Walnut Grove,” he added.
The event includes the members (past and present) of Hall 8 in Walnut Grove.
Roughly 20 to 25 firefighters take part and walk along the route, handing out candy canes to people along the way.
With help from Aldor Acres, the group has two or three covered trailers that are towed along the route filled with the families of the firefighters.
Christmas music is played and carolling can be heard all around.
“The route is lined with people from all over the community,” Haralds said, adding that a number of people drive to school locations as gathering points to be able to participate.
“We have people with lawn chairs set up and entire neighbourhoods gathering to participate in this event,” Haralds said. “We are always so impressed with the level of community support and involvement.”
Haralds said the purpose of the event “has always been about the firefighters and their families giving back to the community and saying thanks.”
“Due to an overwhelming response from the community providing donations, in the past five or six years we have been officially advertising that we would be collecting donations for the Langley Food Bank,” Haralds said.
Each year the firefighters collect roughly three tons of food and about $800 to $1,000 in cash donations.
“Extreme generosity on the part of the community,” Haralds said.
On a personal note, Haralds has participated in the carolling event for the past eight years.
“I always look forward to the event, the smiling faces on all of the kids and heart warming sense of holiday and community spirit,” he said.