Moving Christmas parade to downtown seen possible

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This holiday season, like many in the past, there was discussion about moving Salisbury’s  Christmas parade downtown.

“It  comes up every year. It’s a big issue. There’s a lot of conversation on Facebook about it,” said Emily Nock, president of the Salisbury Jaycees, the parade’s hosting organization.

Many feel the procession should be downtown, where it used to be, and especially in the wake of a revitalization effort that has brought renovations, new restaurants and businesses. But it isn’t that easy, Nock said.

“People don’t realize the reasons we don’t have it downtown anymore. We have more entries now. The fire trucks have to be able to get out in case of an emergency. There are a lot more safety issues and more people watching,” she said.

At one time, the parade traveled along Main Street to  downtown, but Nock said the Downtown Plaza and pedestrian walkways wouldn’t leave space for some floats.

She said she talked to Jake Day, president of the Salisbury City Council, who said there are redesign plans that would widen the Plaza, so the parade could be relocated in 2016, depending on progress of renovation.

“I think would be great downtown,” Nock said.

Currently, it begins at the intersection of Civic Avenue and Mount Hermon Road and follows Mount Hermon past Main Street and City Park, Nock said.

“Moving it comes up every year because downtown is the heart of city. There has been a huge movement to revitalize it. I agreed it would be great if we can have it downtown again,” she said.

“It’s something we’re looking at it in future. The Plaza will be more pedestrian and vehicle friendly after revitalization. Right now with the obelisk in the middle creates a tight turn there, so fire trucks and large floats can’t move around it, with the turns and things. We can’t block off any portion of Route 13 or Route 50, the major roads,” she said.

“Downtown revitalization is a big issue right now. We’re trying to make it a better place,” she said.

Mayor Jim Ireton said moving the parade is a Jaycees’ decision, and city officials will “help them any way possible to make it a reality.”

This year’s parade, the Jaycees’ 68th annual , was Sunday, Dec. 7. The theme was Very ’Bury Christmas and there were about 100 entries, Nock said.

“The streets are packed. A lot of people come out to watch the parade,” she said, adding the best spot for spectators is by the judges’ stand at City Park, across from Wicomico Middle School.

“The parade is an annual tradition, to bring Salisbury together to celebrate the holidays. It’s in the beginning of December, to start out the season,” she said.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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