Lawrence, Kan. – The Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel the much-loved parade for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Always held the first Saturday in December, the Lawrence Christmas Parade is one of the most unique parades in the nation. Authentic horse-drawn carriages parading down Massachusetts Street have helped kick off the holiday season for 27 years.
Despite the cancellation, the parade plans to offer alternative activities for this year, and return for its 28th edition in 2021.
“Deciding to cancel the parade this year is the right decision to promote public health and protect our participants, volunteers and spectators,” Marty Kennedy, President, Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade, said. “But we view this as a one-year interruption and are committed to returning in 2021.”
The uncertainty of the current COVID-19 pandemic and challenges in maintaining recommended health practices among the throngs that crowd Massachusetts Street were the factors driving the Board’s decision.
“It is not a decision anyone wanted to make but is forced on us by current circumstances. And we owe it to our entries, the families and their teams that come from multiple states and hundreds of miles, to let them know our decision for their own planning purposes,” Kennedy said.
The Parade Committee is planning a number of alternative activities to promote the holiday season and support downtown Lawrence and parade sponsors. “The parade has a very enthusiastic following as a favorite activity around the holidays and we look forward to sharing our ‘virtual’ parade plans at a later date,” Kennedy said.
About Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade:
What began in 1993 as one man’s idea to gather friends and spotlight the historic Eldridge Hotel in downtown Lawrence has grown to a nationally recognized all horsepower event to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season.
From a humble beginning of 21 horse-drawn entries, the parade has hosted as many as 70 horse-powered vehicles paying tribute to the contribution of the horse in our transportation heritage.
The parade is managed by a group of Lawrence citizens and dedicated volunteers who spend many hours each year to organize, prepare accommodations, extend our hospitality and ensure the safety of both entrants and spectators. Click here to learn more about the parade.