The Owensboro-Daviess County Christmas Parade will return on Nov. 20.

But it will be the most unusual in the parade’s 85-year history.

Heather Blackburn, a board member, said this year’s parade will be a “reverse parade.”

The floats will remain stationary along Second Street and people will walk along the street looking at them from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

“We’ve had a lot of discussions about finding a better approach than the traditional parade during COVID,” Blackburn said.

There was no parade last year for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We hope bands will be able to be there and perform,” Blackburn said. “We’re reaching out to the schools.”

She said the parade is also seeking more volunteers this year.

Blackburn said organizations wanting to be in this year’s parade can go to the website ChristmasParade.net and sign up.

The grand marshal will be announced soon, she said.

The parade normally starts at Pearl Street and continues to the Owensboro Convention Center.

Blackburn said the committee is trying to find the best place on Second Street to place the parade units this year.

Santa will definitely be at the parade, she said.

The parade normally takes about two hours.

It won’t take that long for people to walk along the route looking at floats, Blackburn said. But the parade units will remain in place for two hours, she said.

The theme is “Back Together For Christmas.”

Friday’s announcement said, “We will encourage family groups to move through the parade route together, social distancing from other groups and masking if that is appropriate for you.”

The first Owensboro parade was Dec. 2, 1937.

In recent years, it has stretched for more than a mile and attracted an estimated 20,000 or more people.

In 1965, the parade was almost canceled in favor of something called “Santa’s Rocket Ship.”

But at the last minute, Jaycees came to the rescue, after an outcry from concerned parents and children, and managed to pull together 30 to 40 units for a parade that year.

The Owensboro parade has always been the first Christmas parade in Kentucky each year.

It also claims the title of being Kentucky’s second-largest parade — behind Louisville’s Pegasus Parade.

After nearly 40 years as a morning or early-afternoon event, in 1990, the parade switched back to a night parade, because people preferred lighted floats.

And after 35 years of marching north from Ninth and Frederica streets and winding through downtown, the parade moved to being only on Second Street in 2008.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

(1) comment

albert smith

So, Christmas parade-good. COVID will not be a concern because folks can simply “walk” the parade. Halloween event-bad. COVID hates Halloween and the city must protect us. Got it.

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