2019 Rome Christmas Parade

In this 2019 file photo a youngster holds a Santa Claus balloon as they awaited the floats to come down Broad Street in the Rome Christmas Parade on Tuesday.

There’s limited space, so organizers of Rome’s Christmas Parade are asking those who wish to participate to go ahead and get applications in now.

There are only 40 spots total. Parade organizer Janet Byington said there are still some spots open for the traditional kickoff of the Christmas season, which will be held on Dec. 1.

“These may be either floats or walking units,” a press release stated. “Units will be accepted on a first come first serve basis and applications will be accepted on this basis beginning immediately.”

Applications are available online at www.romechristmasparade.com and applicants will be notified by Nov. 1 if the entry has been accepted.

That’s just one of the changes to this year’s parade. Others include a limit of 10 people on a float as well as no marching bands this year.

There is no limit on participants in walking units, but social distancing must be maintained and masks are mandatory for all participants in the parade.

The committee has also requested that the city not grant temporary business licenses for street vendors at the parade.

“This year’s parade is to honor our community’s health care and public service workers who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the release stated. “It is our hope that the units will depict a holiday tribute to these individuals in accordance with our theme of ‘Heroes of 2020.’”

Other area parades are also undergoing changes, or not happening at all.

Calhoun canceled its Christmas parade for this year. Calhoun City Manager Paul Worley said discussions between the various stakeholders all seemed to point to the fact that there would not be a way to ensure proper social distancing measures for the 2,000 to 3,000 people who typically pour into the downtown Calhoun area for the parade.

He said there was no way to make sure the event could be held safely.

“All of the entities are sad we can’t do the parade this year. We hope we’re somewhere by this time next year where we can do the parade,” Worley said.

Cedartown will be hosting a “reverse parade” this year — one where seasonal displays will be stationary and people can drive by to see them.

“The parade has always been a huge draw for residents. There’s no way to know what these next few weeks will bring as far as the number of local COVID-19 cases and continuing or new state-mandated guidelines,” said Cedartown City Manager Edward Guzman in a press release. “As a governing entity, we are required to follow these guidelines, and so the typical parade had to be modified.”

The event, slated for Dec. 5 from 6 until 8 p.m., will be set up inside the Polk County Fairgrounds, ensuring plenty of space for displays and allowing vehicles a wide loop of roadway to take in the twinkling lights and Christmas decorations.

The theme for this year’s event is “Let It Snow.” Churches, businesses, organizations and residents wishing to participate are asked to decorate according to the theme. For more information on the parade, visit www.cedartowngeorgia.gov.

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