Blythewood’s Christmas parade still in the works

BLYTHEWOOD – With the pandemic and its myriad restrictions and precautions continuing to bear down on the community, Mayor Bryan Franklin is looking for ways to still make the town’s annual Christmas parade happen.

“If the state government doesn’t allow us an exception as they’ve done for our other outdoor events, then, of course, that’s it. There will be no parade,” Franklin said. “But until we’re notified that we can’t have it, I am planning for it.”

But any plans would have to be modified from the usual parade route, and Franklin said there will be far fewer participants due to COVID restrictions on organizations and schools.

“We won’t have the school floats, ROTC marchers, bands, dance clubs and some of the others because of the need for social distancing. It just wouldn’t be possible for some of them,” Franklin said. “But if we have only 15 floats, it’s still a parade, and I think we all want the parade to happen.”

In an effort to provide social distancing for several thousand parade goers, Franklin is suggesting using Doko Park for the parade line up and for people to spread out and view the parade in the park as well as throughout the town.

“If we get approval from the state, it’s still up to council whether we will have the parade, but we’re at least going to be ready,” he said.

Franklin’s suggestion is to line up around Alvina Hagood Circle in the park, then start from the front of the Manor, go past the butterfly garden, the farmers market, continue around the circle to McLean Road, go left on to Main Street then turn left and follow the usual route through the town.

“Starting in the park is going to necessitate crossing the railroad either on McLean Road or Langford Road,” Franklin added. “I would suggest, to keep pulled trailers from getting stuck over the raised crossing, that drivers consider decorating pick-up trucks instead of pulling trailers.

“These are just plans at this point, of course,” Franklin said. ”As soon as we have some approvals from the state and town council gives the okay, we will let everyone know.

“If at all possible, I, like everyone else would really like to have the Christmas Parade happen,” Franklin said. “It and the July 3 fireworks are the town’s big events that we all look forward to.”