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Ardmore's 2020 Parade of Lights canceled

Drew Butler
dbutler@gannett.com
A crowd prepares for the Parade of Lights on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. The Ardmore Main Street Authority Board on Thursday voted to cancel the 2020 edition of the parade due to concerns over the pandemic and participation.

There will be no Christmas parades taking place in Ardmore this year. On Thursday afternoon the Ardmore Main Street Authority voted to cancel the 2020 Parade of Lights, and this announcement comes on the heels of The Southern Oklahoma Children’s Christmas Parade which posted news of their cancellation via social media in October.

Prior to the vote, AMSA Director of Marketing Taylor Steele said their office had received numerous calls from the public both in favor of holding the parade and in favor of canceling it.

“We’ve received several calls at the office asking if the parade is going to happen, and people were glad when I told them yes,” Steele said. “But I’ve also received a significant number of calls — especially after the mask mandate — from people asking how we were going to enforce social distancing — and the truth is we can’t.”

One factor in the decision to cancel comes from a lack of entries. Steele said many of the larger companies in town were not able to enter due to concerns from their corporate offices about COVID-19. These companies often enter some of the parade's largest floats. Several school marching bands also decided not to participate because of the recent rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

“As of right now we have 14 entries,” Steele said. “Nine are single vehicles, three are groups of 10 or less who would be walking, and two are for smaller floats.”

AMSA Chair Todd Yeager said it was a difficult decision, but he believes they made the right call.

“We’ve done so well with this parade in the past, and we don’t want to diminish that success by putting out something disappointing this year,” Yeager said.

Though the parade is canceled, the Main Street Authority has several plans in the works for the month of December. They are currently finalizing plans for a multi-night event that will allow families to enjoy themselves while maintaining social distancing. This event will likely be announced within the coming days.

“We’ve got several options and promotions going forward for December,” Steele said. “We have big dreams for the Depot District, and I’m hoping we can make it happen.”