Annual Christmas parades take on a drive thru format

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Saint Mary-of-the-Woods’ Light Your Way Parade and Vincennes’ annual Christmas Parade will take place drive thru style at Fairbanks Park in Terre Haute and Greggs Park in Vincennes.

Parade organizers said they wanted make it feel like the most wonderful time of the year even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A whole lot has been cancelled this year. This was one way we could bring some enjoyment to the public through the park. We wanted to at least try,” said Vincennes’ Mayor Joe Yochum.

“We know the turnout and the feedback that we get afterwards, the level of excitement the day of. Estimates from last year were that we had about 10,000 people last year.  And so how can you turn down that many smiling faces,” explained John Mace, Director of Conferences and Events at Saint-Mary’s-of-Woods College.

Businesses and parade participants will set up stationary floats inside of the parks, while spectators drive by in their cars to view the Christmas displays.

Mace said so far businesses have been responsive to the new changes.

“We have started to get some signed up already. They’re thinking about they can have their float or their entry stationary and be able to have lights and celebrate Christmas with that.”

And even though the annual celebrations will look slightly different, Yochum and Mace said they hope to see the same crowds like in years past.

“Christmas is probably my favorite time of the year. I hope we get a lot participation and a lot of people come out and enjoy it. I mean who knows this could be something that continues in the future, even when COVID-19 is gone,” Yochum noted.

“I’m hoping for an equal turnout. It might be a little difficult for some groups to be that aren’t moving. But maybe they can think about it and maybe not bring as many people from their organization to be at a stationary point. We have some very creative people in our community and I’m anxious to see what they come up with,” Mace said.

The Light Your Way Parade will take place on Dec. 5 at Fairbanks Park from 6 p.m. -8 p.m. For those that would like to participate in the Light Your Way Parade, the deadline to submit display entries is Nov. 24. Click here to get involved.

Vincennes has not set a date yet for their upcoming celebration. For more information on how to participate in the Vincennes Christmas Parade, call Vincennes City Hall at 812-882-7285 or email info@vincennes.org.

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