Dodge City Parade of Lights event set

Judd Weil Dodge City Daily Globe

With many special events canceled or put on hold this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the undeterred organizers of Dodge City’s annual Christmas Parade of Lights were determined to come up with a safe solution to ensure the tradition but with a twist.

“The parade is a cherished holiday tradition enjoyed by hundreds of residents and out-of-town guests and we couldn’t let 2020 end without having something available for our community to enjoy,” said Jerri Whitley, with Victory Electric. “But we knew having that many people gathered along a parade route would make the task of keeping citizens safe and enforcing spectators to socially distance next to impossible.”

With support from community officials and effort to create a safe, fun environment for all, parade organizers redesigned the traditional parade into a“reverse” paradeformat.

This unique reverse parade does not mean that floats will be moving backwards, but rather they will be stationary and spaced apart.

Spectators wishing for a dose of seasonal merriment will simply drive through the designated route and admire the floats from the safety of their vehicles. The new parade format allows for social distancing between parade entries and no direct contact with spectators.

“It’s 2020, and I think everyone has gotten familiar with the unexpected,” said Megan Welsh, Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Although this parade format will be something new — we hope it brings the same excitement and fun for everyone.

“We want everyone to feel like they are part of the parade by either decorating a float or by driving through the parade. Spectators can even add to the festivities by decorating their vehicles, too. The more holiday spirit flowing, the better.”

The theme for this year’s Parade of Lights is “Make Your Way Down Candy Cane Lane,” and it is slated for 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 30.

The reverse parade will be set up in the Wright Park area, ensuring plenty of space for parade floats and displays while providing viewers with safe space in which to take in the lights and Christmas decorations.

This year, event organizers choose to cancel the chili cook-off that is traditionally held in conjunction with the parade for safety reasons.

For people unable to physically attend the parade, organizers plan to use social media via Facebook Live and television’s Cox Channel 8 so community members can enjoy the parade fromtheir own homes.

More information will be relayed as determined on the “Christmas in Dodge City” Facebook page at www.facebook.com/christmasindodgecity.

While traditional parade floats are invited to participate, people are encouraged to get creative with their Christmas entries.

All parade entries must have holiday lights to be accepted and are encouraged to reflect a holiday theme or the parade theme of “Make Your Way Down Candy Cane Lane.”

Limited electrical access will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, otherwise parade entrants must provide their own power source.

Masks are required, as is maintaining a 6-foot social distance.

There is no entry fee.

Businesses, organizations, churches, individuals or other groups wishing to participate in the parade can view additional parade information, such as entry guidelines, as well as complete the online entry form at https://www.victoryelectric.net/19th-annual-christmas-parade-lights, or email askcommunications@victoryelectric.net.

Individuals can also contact Rebecca Gerber at the Dodge City Daily Globe at 620-338-1261.