NO HUMBUGS HERE: Dickens Parade on Saturday
From staff reports
Once again, the parade floats will stay in place and passenger vehicles will contain the revelers on Saturday night in downtown Lockhart during the Dickens Christmas Reverse Lighted Parade.
While parade aficionados will be safely ensconced in their vehicles for the second consecutive year, the event organized by the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce and the Friends of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library promises to be bigger and better than it was in 2020, when the event was created to spread a little Christmas cheer while helping contain COVID-19.
“We had eight floats last year, and this year, we have that number topped already,” event co-organizer Stephanie Riggin said before Thanksgiving. “We have at least 20. It’s a very easy float to do because you can string lights on anything. Cars, trucks, pickups … anything. You just need to bring a power source.
“We had to beg people to come and do it last year, but they’re coming back because they had so much fun. It’s just a two-hour commitment to fun.”
The parade will be held from 7- 8:30 p.m. The reverse parade route begins in front of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library on S. Main St. Cars will turn right on Market St., make a u-turn and head west on Market St., proceed north on Main St., and complete the self-propelled parade on San Antonio St.
While there may have been eight floats last year, the reimagination of the annual parade was met with enthusiasm among citizens.
“We had 400 cars. I counted,” Riggin said. “We didn’t have anyone complain about the line.”
Riggin said the decision to maintain the parade’s socially distanced, reverse format was made earlier this year when local vaccination rates were lower and concerns about breakthrough cases and the Delta variant of COVID-19 grabbed headlines and the public’s attention.
While the new Omicron variant that has not yet been detected in the United States was unknown at the time of this Nov. 18 interview, Riggin reminded would-be humbugs that decisions about events like the parade traditionally are made well in advance of the actual date.
“Things are looking better now, but back in July and August when we had to put this in motion it wasn’t,” Riggin said. “We’re having the event on city property and we had to go by their guidelines. We had to do what they wanted to do.”
The reverse parade will be the highlight of Dickens-related Christmas festivities this year. As was the case last year, the Library events, which included live performances, the announcement of the Most Worthy Citizen, and the lighting of the Yule Log on Main Street will be replaced by virtual events viewable on the Dr. Eugene Clark Library’s YouTube channel.
The Lionettes, Lockhart High School Band and the Lockhart High School cheerleaders will perform on the square during the 90-minute event, and Greg Gunther will emcee the event.
Police will be present to control traffic.
Riggin, a perennial participant in both the Dickens and Chisholm Trail Roundup Parades, said she thinks the unconventional format still passes muster for parade aficionados like herself.
“It’s fun to be in a parade,” she said. “Once you’re in one, you always want to be in one. You want to see those little faces looking up at you.”