The coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll on some holiday traditions, but several cities are moving ahead with plans for Christmas parades and other citywide celebrations.
Scott Underwood, events coordinator for the city of LaFayette, Georgia, said participation in this year's Christmas parade, scheduled Friday night, will be about 65% of a normal year, when at least 90 entries would proceed down Main and Margaret streets.
"We do expect it to be a smaller event, which is fine with us," he said. "That way we don't have huge crowds like we've had in past years."
For folks who'd rather stay home, the city's Facebook page will livestream the event starting at 6 p.m.
The city canceled its Scare on the Square Halloween celebration, "but that was everybody downtown at one time," Underwood said. "This event is spread out over a mile."
He said parade participants are prohibited from throwing candy to spectators this year, there will be no model train display in Gordon Hall and Santa will not be available for photos at Joe Stock Park after the parade.
"We're trying not to do anything that we feel is reckless, but we don't want to take anything else away from people to participate in and enjoy if we feel they can do it safely," he said.
In Dayton, Tennessee, planners have scaled back Christmas at the Courthouse activities on Saturday but still hope to draw shoppers to the cluster of merchants downtown. First United Methodist Church will have a live Nativity on the courthouse lawn starting at 5 p.m., and there will be street musicians and Santa sightings from the time shops open at 9 a.m.
"We'll have a virtual Christmas critters contest on social media, and that's pretty much it, sadly," said MainStreet Dayton Executive Director Candice Graham. "I know that's not what people want, but that's the toll this year has taken."
Several cities, including Soddy-Daisy, Fort Oglethorpe and Ooltewah/Collegedale, canceled their Christmas parades.
Community Christmas events this weekend
* Bridgeport, Ala.: Christmas parade, honoring first responders, through downtown, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CST Saturday. 256-495- 3855.
* Collegedale: Tractor Swing, 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday at the Commons, includes tractor decorating contest, food vendors, photo-ops with Santa (6-7 p.m.), farm-themed games (6-8 p.m.), live music by the Chattanooga Monday Night Big Band (7-9 p.m.). 423-468-1971, collegedaleparksandrec.com.
* Dayton, Tenn.: Christmas at the Courthouse, 1475 Market St. Includes shopping at nearby merchants starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, street music, live Nativity at 5 p.m., virtual Christmas critter contest. MainStreetDayton.org.
* Jasper, Tenn.: "Let It Snow"-themed Christmas parade, 6 p.m. CST Saturday along Main Street from Marion County High School. 423-942-3180.
* LaFayette, Ga.: "Peace on Earth"-themed Christmas parade, 6 p.m. Friday from old Ace Hardware, 512 S. Main St. to parking lot of old LaFayette High School on Margaret Street. No photos with Santa afterward at Joe Stock Park, but the light show at the park is open. http://mycityoflafayettega.org/residents/events/christmas_parade.
* Ringgold, Ga.: Down Home Christmas parade, 6 p.m. Friday along Nashville Street. Lighted path to the Christmas tree at Ringgold Market pavilion is open on Depot Street next to City Hall. Christmas Expo at Ringgold Depot is canceled. https://www.cityofringgoldga.gov/Events.aspx.
* Trenton, Ga.: Parade follows Grand Illumination of Trenton at 6 p.m. CST Saturday. Route goes from Industrial Park down Highway 11/Main Street to Trenton First Baptist Church and Moore's Funeral Home parking lots. Theme is "Holly Jolly." 706-657-6842.
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