Following a high-profile attempt to get U.S. comedian Stephen Colbert to grand marshal Saturday’s Winter Fest Holiday Parade in Windsor, Ont., organizers have called in a stand-in: Miss Canada 2012.

Jaclyn Miles was announced as the parade’s Grand Marshal Thursday at Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino.

Miles is a “better and much more attractive” alternative to the star of The Colbert Report, said Larry Horwitz, chair of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Area.

Horwitz had made strong attempts to draw Colbert to Windsor after the comedian referred to the southwestern Ontario city as the “earth’s rectum” in his satirical book, America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t.

“A lot of people in Windsor took it to heart,” Horwitz told CtvNews.ca on Thursday. “There was a lot of anger and frustration, but there were also people who said he’s a comedian.”

Windsorites decided to take it in stride, Horwitz said, and invited Colbert to grand marshal the 80-float holiday parade and show him firsthand the city’s best attributes.

To drum up further profile for the downtown corridor – currently undergoing a renewal – organizers also sent to Colbert’s New York office a gift basket of quintessentially Canadian goodies, such as moose-dropping chocolates, locally made candies and maple syrup. 

In the spirit of satire and social media, Horwitz took it a step further: He and “geo-proctologist” Marshall Sfalcin created a mock Youtube video depicting Horwitz’s unsuccessful attempts to reach Colbert in New York. Shot locally, the five and a half minute video features the BIA chair speaking with people posing as New Yorkers.

“It’s the humour of it all – you could film it all in Windsor and make it look like New York – what does that say,” Horwitz said.

Emails and tweets have been sent to Colbert’s public relations contacts in New York, Horwitz said, but with a parade deadline looming and no response from Colbert’s camp, organizers turned to Plan B.

“Somebody bigger, and better and much more attractive and much wittier will lead the parade,” Horwitz said of Miles, a 24-year-old human rights advocate who is a graduate of the University of Windsor.

Originally from Windsor-Essex county, Miles said it’s been her goal as Miss Canada to bring more awareness to the region and show the rest of the country “that big things do happen in smaller cities.”

Miles said she’s happy to participate.

“The fact that my community has recognized me, and asked me to be a part of this just furthers my point that you can do some great things and it does show that we’re an up-and-coming city,” she said.

If anything, Colbert will be there in effigy: A giant paper mache head in Colbert’s likeness is to be featured in the parade. 

And, adds Horwitz, Colbert’s invitation still stands. “We’re going to leave room for him on the float or he can walk alongside the big head.”

Even if Colbert is likely a no-show at this point, efforts won’t be vain, Horwitz said.

“It’s had a great effect,” he said. “ I think it’s brought the people of Windsor closer together because they’re realizing what they have.”