Norco Christmas Parade canceled in 2020, will resume next year

Santa in action at the Norco Civic Association Christmas Parade.

Time simply ran out on the planning process for this year’s Norco Civic Association Christmas Parade, as the call has been made to cancel the event in 2020.

The annual tradition, which was resumed in 2001 after a dormant period, has only been canceled twice since it’s resurrection, with this marking a third time. Civic Association President Stephen Weber said there was simply too much uncertainty surrounding the event this year, due to continuing safety protocols and restrictions due to COVID-19, to be able to green light the preparation process. Beyond that, there is no guarantee that the benchmarks needed to have the parade approved by the necessary authorities could be realistically reached, he said.

Weber said a recent unanimous vote by the NCA board made the decision official. The parade was slated to roll Dec. 6.

“We usually map it all out and have our meeting in July, and here we were in September,” said Weber. “We decided it would just be for the best to make the call, because we needed a decision then and there to see if we’d even have people to participate. The board voted and decided to cancel this year and turn our focus to next year.

“It wasn’t an easy decision at all. It’s very disappointing, to be honest. But we feel it’s the right call for everyone involved and their best interests.”

Weber said some of the parameters that would be necessary to approve the parade, in theory, would be difficult to institute in theory, including things like social distancing on the parade route. Even if everything could be done as required now, some decision-makers whose approval would be needed could offer no guarantees.

“I called around, a few of the people who we’d need permission from to have a parade … some of it was, ‘I don’t know right now, it depends on where we are.’ So we had nothing really concrete to work with.

“We’ve only had a couple groups call us about participating, really, which is odd by this point. But then, it isn’t at all, given the circumstances (with COVID-19).”

Weber noted one of the tough parts of the cancellation was that the parade has gained popularity year after year, becoming a tradition so many in the close knit Norco community embraced. The focus, as he’s pointed out consistently over the years, was kept on providing an event for families to enjoy together, amongst themselves and with their fellow community members.

The parade is crafted around a theme every year and has served as an unofficial kickoff for the Christmas season, held on the heels of Thanksgiving on the first Sunday of each December.  Last year’s theme was Norco Through the Years with participants representing a decade of their choice. Floats, bands, dance teams, cheerleader groups and colorful characters – Batman, Robin, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus were regulars – are annually part of the festivities.

Past themes have touched on traditions, paid homage to popular music and movies, honored veterans and highlighted major events like elections and the Super Bowl.

The parade was discontinued after a 30 year run from the 1950s  to the 1980s. In 2001, a group of residents that included Weber revived the event. The lone two times since 2001 that the parade was not held came due to a heavy rain event in 2016 and due to the aftermath and fallout from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Weber said he hopes the additional time between now and the 2021 Christmas Parade can be used to make the event even better.


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