The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Community Holiday Parade will return to Franklin Street on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 10 a.m. — but this time with no vehicles.
Darien Cropper, the marketing and communications coordinator for Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, said the decision to remove cars was based on public safety — after a child was killed by a vehicle in last year's Raleigh Christmas Parade— and environmental stewardship.
Cropper said she encourages groups to get creative this year even though there are no vehicles. She said groups are still welcome to use bikes or scooters, and that she is excited to see the creative things that participants come up with.
The theme of this year's parade is “Walkin' in a winter wonderland,” and applications to participate are due on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Stephanie Cobert, the director of marketing for Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said the decision to not include motor vehicles in the parade did not come lightly.
“This year we're attempting to showcase alternate modes of transportation — so, people walking, biking, rollerblading, scooters, mopeds, all different types of other modes of transportation just in an effort to keep everyone safe, and also for environmental sustainability,” Cobert said.
She said the parade is a seasonal favorite in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. She said it is an effort to connect communities and give the community something to be excited about.
Cobert said there are a lot of moving parts and that it takes teamwork to put on the parade. She said everything from street closures and staging areas to safety protocols, parking and pedestrian resources are crucial for the parade.
“I really want the community to know and to see how hard their town officials work to create these types of fun events,” Cobert said. “It just provides an opportunity for everyone to just come together and create positivity.”