‘Light The Night’ snuffed out

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 The coronavirus pandemic has claimed another favorite local event. Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce on Monday announced the cancellation of the 2020 Light The Night Christmas Parade.

      A move to a different locatation was considered, but ultimately thought unworkable.

“Our staff and team of volunteers have spent considerable time and energy over the last 30 days researching the viability of a modified plan to move the event to Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park, with the goal of creating a controlled environment with appropriate social distancing,” said Penny C. McBride, Chamber president and CEO. “And, we thank the City of Fredericksburg for allowing us the opportunity and providing the support needed to evaluate this option.”

The Chamber cited several key challenges with the modified plan.

The space needed to stage both entries and viewers within the park dramatically shortens the route and limits capacity.

And, there is significant risk of traffic management issues and dissatisfaction of guests who are unaware of the need to make advance reservations for this new setting.

“We know our community is proud of this signature event, so it must be presented with the utmost quality,” McBride said.

The Light The Night Christmas Parade was originally scheduled to roll on Friday evening, Dec. 4. It is aired on a live broadcast with an Austin television station, and includes nonprofit organizations and vendors in Marktplatz, along with hot chocolate, cookies and children’s visits with Santa Claus.

With the threat of the COVID pandemic, the Chamber has been evaluating options to safely produce an in-person parade, knowing the usual Main Street format, which attracts a dense crowd of 15,000 viewers, does not meet current safety guidelines.

“Since March we have been working hard to help lead the business community through economic uncertainty and constantly changing rules of business operation. While we would love to host the parade, which is both a beloved community tradition and significant economic driver, we will not risk the sacrifices our businesses have to reopen,” McBride said.

“We are incredibly grateful for the decades of volunteers, parade entrants, sponsors and viewers and promise this beautiful spectacle of light, community and Christmas spirit will return in 2021 when the time is right,” she added.