With only a month to go before Airdrie's annual Santa Claus Parade takes to the streets of Airdrie, organizers of the event are attempting to deal with some worrying social media issues.
"These events have been made by individuals who are not associated with the Airdrie Parade committee. But in all other ways, they appear to be completely identical; using the same graphics and the same text descriptions," she said. "[They are] essentially presenting themselves as being the official Santa Claus parade event for Airdrie and that is pretty new to us. We're being clear about where official sources of information are coming from for the event."
Morros said that she is worried that the fraudulent event pages may attempt to post information about admissions fees to the event, which is blatantly untrue.
"We are trying to make sure that we don't have a situation where we have these fake accounts, either collecting money from people who think that they're paying to attend the event, or collecting money from businesses or community groups who think that they're signing up for the parade as a float entry."
Morros categorically stated that there have been no direct reports of this occurring, but said the Airdrie Parades wants to be cautious.
"To be totally clear, we haven't received any direct reports of that happening at this point. But we do acknowledge that that's a very real possibility. So we're just trying to stay on top of it now before it becomes a situation where anyone might be losing out on income based on some of these fake profiles."
The issue of the copycat event pages was also addressed by The City of Airdrie's social media feed a few days ago.
"We have one and only one official Facebook page and that is Airdrie Parades, as well as our official website. Those are the locations that I recommend going through to find your information. These events are 100 per cent free to attend; we will never charge you any money to join in as a spectator," Morros said. "For any group who is interested in putting a float in the parade, we only collect money through our official events page. We'll never ask you for cash or E-transfers or bank drafts."
Despite the social media troubles, Morros said that there have already been 20 parade floats registered.
"We have Santa Claus coming back and we're so excited to say that Mrs. Claus will be joining him this year. 20 floats means that our event is officially bigger than it was in 2022. We anticipate a parade that is a lot bigger and more exciting than last year."
The Annual Santa Claus Parade is slated to begin on Saturday, December 2 at 5 p.m. on Main Street, though an official parade route has yet to be announced. On Friday, December 1, the Airdrie Festival of Lights will officially open and run till December 31.
In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, DiscoverAirdrie encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the DiscoverAirdrie app. You can scan the QR code to download it.