In Savannah, coronavirus can’t kill ‘people’s choice’ Christmas parade

The City of Savannah-Rotary Christmas Parade is still on, but with a couple of twists.
One gives parade-goers a voice in choosing the winning floats and entries. The other is a concession to the coronavirus situation.
Dubbed the “Christmas Parade on Display,” the floats and other entries will be stationary this year as viewers drive by. It’s an effort to avoid creating a crowd medical professionals say is conducive to the spread of COVID-19.
In a fun change, instead of the traditional panel of judges, voting on entries will be “people’s choice.” Everyone who travels along the parade route gets to participate, vote and give feedback on their favorite entries.
Rotary President Bob Brown and Chairwoman of Community Services Projects Paige Ashe McLean made the decision to freshen the judging process Wednesday.
McLean said as of this morning, there are 25 floats or other entries confirmed, with a handful of regular past participants still undecided.
Parade organizers agreed that getting attendees involved by asking them to vote on parade entries will be an enjoyable attraction. Here’s how it will work:
As vehicles are lined up and waiting to enter the parade route, a parade volunteer will hand out a score sheet for each person in each vehicle. Only score sheets though – no pens or pencils, so remember to bring your own.
As each vehicle moves through the parade route, every occupant gets to score each entry’s impact on them on a 1-to-5 scale, with a one being the least impact to a five being a “wow!”
The score sheets from each vehicle will be collected at the end of the parade route, and the results will be tallied after the parade. The highest scores will be used to award the prizes for best float or entry from each category, such as Businesses, Churches, Civic Groups, Government and Scouts.
The float or participant with the highest total score is the “overall” winner, no matter what category it’s in – truly the “people’s choice.”
The Christmas Parade on Display will be lined up along the paved driveways of Parris South Elementary and Hardin County Middle School. The theme is “Christmas Trees and Memories.”
Things to know before you go
•The parade is on Monday, Dec. 14. The rain date is the following Monday, Dec. 21.
•Entry to the parade site begins at 6:30 p.m., and ends at 9 p.m. Any vehicles still waiting to go through at 9 p.m., will be allowed to enter. However, some contest entries may already be gone.
•The entry is at the entrance to Lacefield Drive on Pickwick Road. The exit is southeast of Parris South, back onto Pickwick Road.
Cars waiting to enter Lacefield Drive and the parade route will line up heading south on Pickwick Street. Police will be on hand to direct traffic.
Along the parade route itself, volunteers wearing fluorescent safety vests will guide vehicles through the parade route and ensure traffic flow.
“The other access roads around the schools will be barricaded, so we can control traffic to ensure emergency vehicles, local residents or any parade-goer who might need to leave during an emergency will have a safe route; we can’t do that if we let cars come in from all directions,” McLean said.
•For ease of scorekeeping, it might be easiest if one adult or responsible older child is selected as “scorekeeper and recorder,” and write down everyone’s score on their sheets as they pass each entry. Score sheets must be handed in at the end of the parade route, and there will not be time to write down scores at the end. Drivers are asked to be mindful of other vehicles behind, waiting their turn.
•The parade begins with the Hardin County High School Marching Band and ends with Santa in his sleigh, McLean said. She also pointed out that cold weather could take a toll on band members, particularly musicians in the brass section. That’s an incentive arrive relatively early for the event.
•“There will be candy! We can’t shut off the candy,” McLean exclaimed. She added that “each entry will be allowed to designate a ‘candy person’ who can approach individual cars as they pass by and give out candy.”
The Rotary Club itself is putting together 1,000 candy bags for “elves” to hand out at their entry, which is hosting Santa himself.

1 Comment

  1. Martha Hieronymus on December 2, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    Believe this will be a colorful evening’s innovative activity, with candy and piped music. Now if people attending will just be as carefully covered in their vehicles then all should be great. Thank you for publishing details.

Leave a Comment