The coronavirus pandemic has stopped a lot of events over the past eight months, but it will not stop the annual Scott County Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade this weekend.
The annual parade will step off from HBD Industries on Industrial Lane in Oneida at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
In the event of inclement weather, the parade will shift to Sunday at 3 p.m. As of Monday, the weather forecast in Oneida was for a 20% chance of rain or snow showers on Saturday, with a high in the mid 40s.
The parade will follow its traditional route: Industrial Lane east to Alberta Street, turning north onto Alberta Street and continuing to Claude Terry Drive before disbanding in the parking lot of Oneida Elementary School. The entire route is just under two miles in length.
Thousands are expected to turn out for the parade, which has annually served as the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season in Scott County for two generations. Most businesses along the parade route permit public parking on the day of the parade.
In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Scott County Chamber of Commerce is urging parade goers to distance themselves along the parade route. There are numerous vantage points along the parade route from which the festivities can be watched from inside a parked vehicle. And, while the early part of the route is often choked with spectators, there is always ample room towards the end of the route — along the Four Lane and Claude Terry Drive — for spreading out.
Parade participants will be urged to adopt precautionary measures to avoid exposing themselves or others to the virus. However, the distribution of individually-wrapped candy and other items will be permitted, Chamber of Commerce executive director Stacey Swann confirmed Monday.
Parade applications were being accepted until 5 p.m. Wednesday, with a large participation expected for this year’s event. Lineup for Saturday’s parade will begin at 11 a.m. in the parking lot of HBD Industries. Drivers who are dropping off participants are reminded that vehicles cannot be left in the HBD parking lot, as the gates are locked after the parade has exited. Additionally, those dropping off participants will be asked to do so from the highway, to avoid unnecessary traffic inside the parade staging area.