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Ocala Christmas Parade is now canceled

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 12:59 PM EST
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - The Ocala Christmas Parade is now canceled.

The Friends of the Christmas Parade made the announcement on its website on Thursday. This decision comes less than 48 hours after the Ocala City Council voted for the parade to receive its permit by a 4 to 1 margin, with Councilman Brent Malever the only dissenting vote.

According to the press release, organizers consulted with with public officials, some past participants, sponsors, and health professionals and decided cancelling the parade was ultimately the right decision.

“Factors considered include an increased and overwhelming concern about the COVID-19 virus where we are seeing a continuing increase in the local positivity rate since Nov. 1 and the deleterious recent decision by the Marion County School Board to restrict students and school groups participation in the 2020 parade,” The Friends of the Christmas Parade said in a press release. “These items, in addition to the increased expenses holding an event this year would entail, the committee agreed that hosting the parade is not the safest nor most prudent way to proceed during such an unprecedented year.”

The Marion County school board voted to not to allow students to participate if the Dec. 12 would have gone ahead. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 numbers in Marion County continues to grow.

The parade draws large crowds of over 50,000 people to the area and over 6,000 participants from Marion County Public Schools, community organizations, and local businesses.

“Our volunteer committee is very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event as our goal each year is to create a diverse, community-wide event where people of all ages and socio-economic sectors of the community can come together in the spirit of good will and community.”

Organizers say they are still committed to the annual Christmas parade and are already planning for the 2021 parade next spring.

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