The Monroe Christmas Parade has wound its way through downtown every December for nearly seven decades but this year that comes to a stop.
Oh, there will still be a parade, but it’s literally going to be at a standstill, as this year’s pandemic-minded event will see the floats stay in one place while the parade viewers do the walking this time around.
“Like many things 2020, there are changes to the event,” Leigh Ann Walker, Monroe Main Street coordinator, said. “This year’s parade will be a ‘parade in place,’ meaning the parade participants will remain in place while the community can stroll the parade route on foot and still enjoy the lights and sounds of the parade.
“The theme this year is ‘Christmas Outside of the Box.’ What a great fit for 2020, right?”
The parade, set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, will cover Broad Street in downtown Monroe from Alcovy Street to Highland Avenue. The public can begin at Highland and wind their way downtown to see the entire frozen procession, with music, skits and other entertainments on display from the different floats and ensembles lining the street.
Walker said they had to cut the number of floats down due to space under the new format but expected great things from the roster on hand.
“We have limited parade participants to a much smaller number this year, but we have some great entries and know this year will be just as spectacular as years past,” Walker said. “We are so thankful that we were able to come up with a creative way to still have a parade of some sort this year to keep this 67-year tradition going.”
The parade will remain on display until 8 p.m.
Monroe isn’t the only city to hold its Christmas parade in the face of COVID-19 restrictions, but Loganville is offering the usual festivities, as its parade will be in motion on Saturday night.
Loganville’s parade will start early, at 5:30 p.m., and will travel its usual route down Georgia 81 before turning onto Main Street to finish downtown before transitioning into the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
“We have been very fortunate this year because we have managed to have most of our events, and we are excited to end our calendar of events with our annual Christmas parade,” Kristy Daniels, director of events and marketing, said. “We have more than three dozen entries and hundreds of participants for this year’s parade, which will be followed by Santa lighting the Christmas tree at the Town Green.”
Pandemic regulations have changed some things on parade night, however.
“Unfortunately, because of a lot of the COVID-19 guidelines, we are unable to offer people free pictures with Santa as we have done in the past, but he will walk around for an hour after lighting the tree to speak with children,” Daniels said. “We will also have a DJ providing holiday music and a few vendors at the Town Green during the event.”
Road closures will begin early in Loganville, so Daniels asked people to arrive early to find parking.
“Residents are reminded that Main Street will be closed from Lawrenceville Road to Highway 78 beginning at 3 p.m. and Lawrenceville Road will be closed from Highway 78 to Highway 81/CS Floyd Road beginning at 4:45 p.m.,” Daniels said.