By Harley Nefe
Both the Town of Blowing Rock and the Town of Boone have decided to cancel their Christmas parades this year due to COVID-19 concerns.
“For the health and wellbeing of everybody, we just decided that it was best to pull back on them,” said Charlie Sellers, Blowing Rock Mayor.
In addition to the Christmas parade, the Town of Blowing Rock also decided to cancel the onsite tree lighting ceremony.
“With the tree lighting, we get so many people,” Sellers said. “Last year, we had thousands of people for the tree lighting, and we just didn’t feel like we could social distance. And also with the Christmas parade, we did not feel like we could social distance.”
The Town of Blowing Rock is working on a plan to hold a virtual tree lighting event to celebrate the season and to kick it off in Blowing Rock. The date for the virtual tree lighting event has not been set yet.
“The town will be decorated, and all of the trees will have lights on them for people to enjoy at their leisure,” said Sellers. “The only difference this year is that we won’t have the parade and we won’t have an in-person tree lighting.”
The Town of Boone will also still be decorating with lights and window displays for the holiday season.
“We will definitely be ramping up the decorating and encouraging individuals and families to enjoy the festive downtown,” said Mark Freed, Town of Boone Cultural Resources Director.
The Boone Christmas parade is usually scheduled the second Saturday in December. This year on that date, which is Dec. 12, Watauga County Parks and Recreation is hosting a drive-thru Christmas parade from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Watauga Community Recreation Center parking lot.
“For the safety of the community and due to the pandemic, we are going to cancel this year’s parade and also in lieu of knowing the county’s putting on an alternative event on the same date, we’re going to support them and their event,” Freed said. “We look forward to bringing everybody back for a festive parade as soon as we’re safely able to do that.”