VALDOSTA – The City of Valdosta and the Ossipe Temple are gearing up for the Greater Valdosta Annual Christmas parade scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, city officials said in a statement. 

The 2020 theme is “Christmas Lights and Winter Nights.”

The parade will start at Woodrow Wilson Drive and proceed south down North Patterson Street and end downtown.

Valdosta Main Street Director Ellen Hill stressed the importance of safety this year for observers and parade participants.

“We were not sure that the event was going to happen this year due to COVID-19 but we were able to come together and put many different guidelines in place to keep everyone safe during the event," she said. "This open air, outdoor event allows us to continue our annual community tradition in a safe and responsible way. 

"With all of the challenges and adjustments everyone had to make throughout 2020, it will be great to ring in the holiday season together as a community.”

For people who do not feel comfortable attending the event in person, the parade will be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page. It will be recorded for a later broadcast on Channel 17 through Mediacom cable in the Valdosta area and the city’s YouTube channel Metro 17 Valdosta.

There will be special COVID-19 guidelines that are not optional, city officials said.

Modifications for special guidelines this year include:

– The city asks all entries and spectators to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines, including wearing a mask or face covering.

– No walking groups will be allowed this year unless already permitted by the parade organizers. All entries must be on a float at all times. No one will be permitted to walk the parade route as a group or as an individual walker next to a float.

– Parade participants have been asked to limit the number of people on floats to allow for social distancing.

– Floats will be socially distanced as they line up on Woodrow Wilson.

– No candy or merchandise may be distributed during the parade or along the parade route.

– Spectators are expected to maintain social-distancing standards. The parade route is more than two miles long, spectators are encouraged to space out and utilize the entire route to view the parade. In the downtown area, markings will be placed along the sidewalk to space out spectators.

For further information or questions about the parade, contact Valdosta Main Street by calling (229) 259-3577 or email rthrasher@valdostacity.com.

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