They waited hours in the cold for the man in red to come to town on Sunday.
And when he finally did and the last float rolled by, many Santa Claus Parade spectators took to Facebook and Twitter to vent their frustrations.
“(I)ssue at this year’s parade?” one watcher tweeted.
“Huge gaps (between) floats on Univ(ersity) Ave., killed the excitement and let the cold set in. Disappointed.”
Spectators complained about gaps of up to 30 minutes between floats. During one of them, antsy children took to playing in the street or on sidewalks along University Avenue.
Halfway through the parade, many of the children on floats appeared to have lost their holiday cheer. Spectators giggled and awed at their cute, albeit slightly glum, rosy-cheeked faces.
One woman who came from out of town with her daughter and three grandchildren said they’ll watch the parade from the comfort of their living room next year.
“We travelled all the way from the Belleville area, spent [a lot] of money to make it a great time for the kids only to have them disappointed,” she wrote on the parade’s Facebook page.
Parade organizers say they are aware of concerns and will address them in a post-parade review.
“This is the biggest parade we’ve ever run, so we’re learning as we’re growing,” Santa Claus Parade president Peter Beresford said yesterday.
He said one of the perceived delays was because organizers sent out the police chiefs, celebrity clowns and WestJet float about an hour before the parade officially started.
Beresford said they wanted the clowns to get ahead of the march because they like to goof around and interact with the crowd, which can hold up the event.
“They moved faster than we thought,” Beresford said.
Another source of delays was that “for the first time in 27 years, we were running a live broadcast,” Beresford said.
They didn’t want to miss a float on TV, so organizers paused the procession during commercial breaks.
Beresford said the parade crew has been monitoring feedback — positive and negative — and the review panel will discuss ways to eliminate some of the problems at next year’s parade.