The Gift and Thrift tractor, carrying a Christmas tree made from old books, cruises down Main Street during the 2019 Harrisonburg Holiday Parade.

Harrisonburg pulled the plug on its planned “reverse” Holiday Parade, according to a press release emailed Thursday.

The event, scheduled for Dec. 4, was announced in late October in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of the public gathering downtown for floats to roll past on Main Street, the event was planned for Westover Park from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with guests driving through the park where the stationary floats would be displayed.

However, according to city officials, Gov. Ralph Northam’s latest executive order, issued Friday, restricted social gatherings to no more than 25 people and it was clear the event could not adhere to the order.

“While it is disappointing that we will not be able to gather with our community this year to celebrate the holidays and everything that makes The Friendly City the special place it is, we know that this is the best possible decision to ensure the safety of our families and our neighbors,” Matt Little, Harrisonburg recreation and special events manager, said in the press release.

According to the email, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department is considering alternative holiday events to go along with the Dec. 4 virtual tree lighting and Dec. 12’s Santa Around Town event.

— Staff Report

Contact Jim Sacco at 574-6291 or jsacco@dnronline.com | Follow Jim on Twitter at @Jim__Sacco

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