The Monroe entrants are gearing up for a different Christmas Parade for the community in 2020. And they will be using more of the city than usual in order to give attendees the opportunity to safely get in on the fun. Not only will the parade be stationary giving attendees the opportunity to move about the floats at a safe distance, but some will occupy side streets as well in order to spread out a little more.
Monroe Country Day School had some entertainment planned for its float themed a “Blue Christmas” with an out of town Elvis impersonator singing some of Elvis’s time-honored Christmas specials. After hearing concerns about the parade, MCDS founder Rita Dickinson came up with a way to still participate while giving a little more distance for attendees to safely distance while enjoying the performances.
“I have decided after much conversation to do our float at the upper school on Church Street. We will do 4:30 to 6:30 so anyone who wants to go to the parade can go afterwards. We will still have Elvis and our little Elvises and dancing presents. We will set up the stage in front of the school, ” Dickinson said. “Spectators can drive by or park and socially distance for our performances at 5:00, 5:30 or 6:00.”
Dickinson said everyone she spoke to felt this was a safer and simpler way to do it. MCDS is located at 602 E Church St. (the old Monroe Community building).
And MCDS is not the only entrant that will use Church Street. The Jeepers, always big supporters of the parade, will park on Church Street leading up to S. Broad Street. Some others are expected to set up on Court Street.
The City decided to change up the parade this year so as to give people the opportunity to enjoy the decorated floats along with singing, dancing and street minstrels while being able to avoid being cooped up close to other people for a couple of hours while the parade goes past. In a parade themed “Out of the Box,” Thursday’s parade in Monroe is expected to truly live up to its name.
“Many cities all over Georgia have been discussing how to still host holiday traditions downtown, and this is an idea we came up with as we heard of creative ideas from our fellow downtown managers. This format gives attendees to the parade more ability to move at their own pace throughout downtown rather than standing close together in one location for 2+ hours,” said Sadie Krawczyk, economic development director for the City of Monroe. “We made this decision based on CDC guidelines which state that outdoor events that allow for social distancing are less risky than events that may create a longer amount of potential exposure time – a stationary event without movement and at maximum capacity in downtown would be considered much more of a risk for spreading COVID-19 than one where you are continually moving with the ability to stay further away from others not in your household.”
Krawczyk said attendees can walk up and down the street at will. There will be a visual barrier to keep people a reasonable distance from the floats that will be in the middle of the road. Performing entries will do their performances on a loop, “just as if they were in the moving parade, so hopefully people will move on and come back later if they feel uncomfortable with the crowd size at a certain time.”
So for the 67th Annual Christmas Parade in Monroe, while parade participants line the usual parade route, spectators will stroll the parade route to see the sights and sounds of Christmas. The event begins at 6:30 and ends at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3 in downtown Monroe..