Ocala Christmas Parade set to return in 2021

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Posted May 14, 2021 | By Ainslie Lee, ainslie@ocalagazette.com

For most, mid-May is too early to think about the holidays. But for the Friends of the Christmas Parade’s committee in Ocala, it’s never too early – especially after last year’s parade was nixed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite getting the blessing of the health department in 2020, the parade committee didn’t want to risk being a super-spreader event and canceled the 65th Annual Ocala Christmas Parade. Also, the move by the Marion County School Board to bar school group from participating, cut deeply into the potential number of participants in the parade.

“It was upsetting to make that decision,” said Sue Mosely, who has been on the committee for 26 years. “But hopefully we made the right one and it’s not going to affect future years.”

This week, the committee announced the 2021 Christmas parade is clear for takeoff and will take place on Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m.

According to Mosely, the committee is already planning the second attempt of the 65th edition of the parade that marches down a 2-mile stretch of East Silver Springs Boulevard.

Last year, the committee planned to honor first responders with the parade’s “A Heroes’ Christmas” theme. That theme will likely carry over into this year’s event but will shift its focus to honoring members of the U.S. military, Mosely said.

The parade committee hopes less restrictive coronavirus precautions will be in place by Dec. 11.

“Hopefully we’re not going to have to worry about COVID precautions in December,” Mosely said. “But if we do, certainly we will take heed to what’s recommended.”

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced, in its latest health guidance, that in most cases, fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a face mask or stay 6 feet away from others regardless of being indoors or out.

Applications to march in the parade will be available on Aug. 1. The deadline to apply for a spot is Oct. 15. The committee also will select a grand marshal in August.

“It’s going to take something catastrophic to keep us from having a parade this year,” Mosely said. “We’re doing it. We’re moving forward with it.”

For information visit ocalachristmasparade.org.

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