Council approves Christmas parade, Albemarle Downtown Christmas as separate events following mixed reviews
Published 11:59 am Monday, February 14, 2022
Albemarle’s joint Christmas parade and Christmas Open House held during the Thanksgiving weekend last year received mix reviews, according to information shared by Joy Almond, Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation director, to the city council last Monday night.
Almond and Albemarle Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Kiser received feedback from numerous individuals, including downtown business owners, parade participants, city staff and members of the the city’s special events committee.
There was an issue with holding the events on Nov. 27, which was Small Business Saturday and only two days after Thanksgiving. Some businesses, Almond said, stayed closed during that time in order to be with family. Almond also mentioned that attendance was lower for parade participants and city staff compared with previous years as several who typically volunteer were out of town.
They found that while business was strong immediately following the parade, it dropped off shortly after. One retailer said even with more people in the area, there was very little difference compared to past years, when Small Business Saturday was its own standalone event.
Once the parade ended, there seemed to be less of an interest in traditionally popular attractions such as the ice sculpture artist and Santa Claus.
Mayor Pro Tem Martha Sue Hall, who is also a member of the special events committee, said she felt “sorry” for the ice sculptor because there was “nobody up there” as compared to previous years.
“It seems like the sentiment is we’re putting all our eggs in one basket by hosting one big event,” she told council.
Following the feedback, Almond recommended hosting the parade and downtown Christmas as two separate events.
She asked that the Christmas parade be held each year after Thanksgiving, specifically on the second Saturday in December from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. That would be Dec. 10 for this year. Almond also recommended the Albemarle Downtown Christmas be held on the first Friday in December at 4 p.m. That would be Dec. 2 for this year.
The council approved both of her recommendations.