When the annual Carthage Christmas parade was cancelled last week due to COVID-19 concerns, a lot of people were disappointed. David Britt decided to do something about it.
“I had promised my kids we’re going to a Christmas parade this year, so, you know, kind of had to make that happen,” Britt said. “(It’s) a big deal, and I think we’ve seen a lot of it going around this town is a lot of people stepping up during this crisis to try to kind of take the place of events that are having to be cancelled for obvious reasons...
“We understand the position they’re in, and we have to respect that, but not all of us are in that position, so I thought ‘Well let’s see if we can just as a community put together our own.’ Made a little Facebook post, the next thing you know it went nuts, so I started doing a little research and found out that all we really needed was a permit, and then we’d work out the fine details from there.”
Britt said they’ll be keeping the new Christmas parade for the same date and time as originally planned: Monday, Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m. He picked up the permit Monday morning, and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. they’re having a meeting to discuss what to do going forward. The meeting is open to the public and will be at Pure and Simple, 214 North Saint Mary St. off the Square in downtown Carthage.
Britt created a public Facebook group titled ”Panola County Parade Commission,” and as of Tuesday there are nearly 700 people who have joined. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join the group and provide feedback and ideas.
“We want the community to be involved so we came up with a number of different theme ideas and allowed everybody else to kind of give theme ideas, and we’re going to vote on that Monday and figure out what our theme is going to be, and we’re just hoping to get everybody involved, everybody to come hang out. We still want have our Christmas parade,” Britt said. “We’ve had a rough enough year without having to cancel our parade. We want to send 2020 out with a bang because this has not been the best year for anybody.”
Britt wants to keep things friendly, instead of having people condemn the Chamber of Commerce parade committee, which usually organizes the annual event.
“I don’t think any of them want to cancel a Christmas parade,” he said. “I genuinely believe they don’t; I know a lot of these people, and they’re very good people, and it was a tough decision for them to make, and I’m hoping that we can get help out of them as well, and I believe we will. I’m not trying to take the place of them either, hopefully this is just a this year thing, and next year they’ll go back to doing what they’ve always done.”
The importance of having a Christmas parade boils down to small town life, he said.
“Christmas parades are a part of that, and one thing that 2020 has done that we’ve seen through things like the Love Well program and social media in general, are people really stepping up and saying ‘How can I help, what can we do?’ And it’s been, with all the negativity in the world and everything you’re seeing on television, it’s nice to know that there are communities still coming together to help, and this is just another way of us to try to come together and help out,” Britt said.
“We’re not doing it for any reason other than we just want the kids to have a parade to go to. There’s nothing else behind it other than that, it’s just we kind of want to live our life.”
Everything is voluntary when it comes to the parade.
“We understand the reasons that the Chamber made their decision, and we understand there’s a virus, and nobody’s denying that, so it goes back to if you feel like you want to wear a mask, absolutely, we’ll go so far as to even encourage it, it’s probably not a bad idea to wear one, but you know, it’s a voluntary thing,” Britt said. “People voluntarily putting it on, people voluntarily show up, voluntarily participate.”
To keep up with updates on the community planned Christmas parade, join the Facebook group or check out their event page at facebook.com/events/701369023796909.