During a special meeting Monday night, the Hernando Board of Aldermen unanimously approved Julie Hopkins’ plan for a “reverse Christmas parade.”
Hopkins’ parade will act as a replacement for the city’s annual Christmas parade, which was canceled by the Hernando Main Street Chamber of Commerce because of the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
“I’m super excited, I just wanted it all to come together and show that people still care about Christmas,” Hopkins said.
After seeing multiple ideas being considered on Facebook, Hopkins, a parent and former teacher from Hernando, came up with a unique solution. She proposed the idea of a reverse parade, and other residents instantly jumped on the idea.
“I heard that several cities around us are doing a reverse parade,” Hopkins said. “I wanted to present this as an option for Hernando.”
In a reverse parade, Hopkins said that floats and participants will be parked along the parade route, and cars can drive by to view the parade. This would be a safer option compared to a traditional parade in terms of risk of catching COVID-19, as viewers remain in their own vehicle instead of gathering in crowds to view the parade.
Hopkins said 30 businesses and individuals have expressed interest in participating.
Hopkins presented the idea to the Board of Aldermen during their Dec. 1 meeting but was not granted a permit for the event. Over the past week, Hopkins has tackled numerous logistical hurdles in holding the event.
One issue was event insurance, which the chamber usually purchases. This is the first time the aldermen have been asked to sign off on an event where it would fall on an individual to take care of this liability. Hopkins was able to secure the insurance following donations from the Krewe of Hernando community organization and Sam Lauderdale.
The route for the parade was another issue, as Hopkins’ initially proposed route would have blocked access to some business on Commerce Street. When this has occurred during city events, the Chamber of Commerce has gotten permission from the business owners affected. The parade will now take place along Dilworth Lane. The location was selected after Duane Case, Principal of Hernando High School, gave Hopkins permission to use the loop behind the school for exiting traffic during the parade.
Scott Worsham, Hernando’s Chief of Police, also said he fully supported the event, and his department would help in any way they could.
Hernando’s reverse Christmas parade will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 14th. Those who want to get involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.