RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - The City of Richmond Hill announced Thursday the cancellation of several holiday events this year.
The city states due to the continued challenges related to COVID-19, the following events have been canceled or postponed:
- Veterans Day Ceremony (in-person canceled; virtual tribute planned)
- Christmas Parade (canceled)
- Chili Cook-Off (tentatively postponed to February 2021)
- Breakfast with Santa (canceled)
The city says these events have traditionally attracted a large crowd and that makes it difficult to hold these events this year with Georgia’s COVID-19 regulations and recommendations.
“The decision to cancel these beloved Christmas events was not made lightly. This would have been the City of Richmond Hill’s 25th annual Christmas parade. However, it’s important for us to prioritize the long-term health and safety of our attendees, participants, and staff,” Mayor Russ Carpenter said. “Knowing that these events are a cherished part of holiday traditions, city staff has spent months exploring possible solutions. We will continue to navigate these challenging days with an unshakeable commitment to bring holiday magic in other creative ways to the Richmond Hill community this year.”
In early December, the City of Richmond Hill plans to have a “Very Merry Little Christmas” car parade that will drive through Richmond Hill neighborhoods and a drive-in Christmas movie event at J.F. Gregory Park.
“We are still trying to abide by the governor’s executive orders and not knowing what they would be in December, but during the planning stages and our participants in the parade that were planning floats and bands and so forth, they needed to know one way or another whether or not we were going to cancel so we had to go ahead and pull the plug," said Mayor Carpenter.
Not everyone in the city agrees with the cancellations, but others are trying to focus on the positive.
“Given the Christmas parade is an outdoor activity anyway, people could certainly separate if they needed too. It’s not like Richmond Hill is this huge, huge metropolis,” said resident Betsy Debry.
“I think it will be fine but I think the kids will get over it,” said resident Shaun Clark.
The Mayor and council don’t want a humbug holiday. He says the city is working to make Christmas magic this year, just in a safer and more socially distanced way.
“We are going to have a smaller car parade through some of our neighborhoods. Just something kid friendly. We are also having all of our decorations. We always bathe city hall in red and green. All of our decorations will be the same. We are going to do a tree we haven’t done before here at city hall outside. Trying to bring in a focal point for people if they want to stop and snap some pictures,” said Mayor Carpenter."
Additionally, there will be pumpkin carving and gingerbread contests judged virtually.