GRAFTON- Grafton City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, November 10, and after much deliberation, has decided that it would be in the best interest of the community to cancel the city’s 2020 Christmas Parade.
The parade, which is generally held the first Saturday in December, draws hundreds of individuals and young children to the downtown area.
Because of the large crowd that the event tends to draw in, and the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of council felt the health and safety risks of hosting the parade this year was just too high.
Not only was the crowd cause for concern, but over the years the Christmas Parade has continuously grown in participation from various schools, organizations, businesses, churches and clubs. Keeping these groups and event organizers safely socially distanced would be a near impossible task when lining up the parade.
According to Grafton Mayor Shelia Westfall, like other events that have been forced to cancel, this decision did not come easy, but the council’s priority is and will always be the health and safety of the community, as the nation continues the battle against COVID-19.
Although the parade won’t be happening this year, Westfall noted that the City of Grafton has already began decorating the area as usual.
“The tree and sleigh, along with all of the other lights that grace the city for the holiday season, are still going on for residents to enjoy,” she shared.
However, she did reveal that due to an upcoming event, the trees that are typically set up at Toad Hall would not be put on display this year.
Additionally, Mayor Westfall revealed that the town would move forward with their Annual Light Up Night Event, but they are encouraging folks to take part virtually.
“We will be hosting light up night on Friday, December 4 at 6:30 p.m. but we are recommending people watch it from the comfort of their homes,” she voiced.
While this is not the traditional way Grafton celebrates the season, council, along with members of All Aboard Grafton, have been discussing ways to keep the Christmas magic alive in our small town.
Former Mayor Peggy Barney revealed that council had discussed the possibility of having Frosty the Snowman and the Grinch make appearances in the downtown area throughout the holiday season.
“It’s not ideal. It’s not our typical celebration, but like other cities and states, we are being forced to come up with new and inventive ways to continue on and still provide some holiday fun to the community,” said Grafton City Manager Kevin Stead.
For those wishing to partake in the town’s Annual Light Up Night, the Mountain Statesman will be steaming the event live on our Facebook page at 6:30 p.m. on December 4. We will post a reminder to our page as the date draws nearer.