BRANDON, Miss. (WJTV) – The annual Brandon Christmas parade in the midst of this second wave of Coronavirus went on but the atmosphere was very different with Coronavirus prevention guidelines in place.
Christmas spirit has officially arrived in the City of Brandon and people are ringing in the holidays in a new way due to the pandemic. The threat of COVID-19 still lingers very much if people are not careful.
“Wear your mask, wear your mask, wear your mask,” Mayor Butch Lee told us before the parade kicked off.
It’s usually held downtown, but the city chose to move the parade to quarry park where crowd sizes can be controlled and social distancing is enforced.
“Preferred it to be in downtown because that’s where we live in the downtown area,” Parade goer Jerry Vardaman said. “But I’m just glad that it happened with everything that’s happened this year.”
“I actually like this a little better because you don’t have people pushing and shoving,” Tonya Wicks stated. “Trying to get in front of each other and everyone has their own spot here.”
The length of the parade dropped in size and everyone who watched from outside their cars was required to wear a mask. Those in the parade had to wear one on floats if they were with people other than family and couldn’t throw anything to the crowd.
“We were given a lot of candy, it’s been prepackaged and it’s on tables so as cars go in just like going into an ATM,” Mayor Lee explained. “You can reach out and grab masks and pull down a little further and grab some candy.”
After all 2020 has put people’s livelihoods and health through many were excited to keep the holiday tradition going despite Rankin County seeing one of the highest rates of cases in Mississippi.
“I’m hoping to really light people’s spirits because it’s been a hard year,” Reese Wilson, a cheerleader for Brandon Middle said. “So hopefully this parade can cheer people up and give people hope.”
“Just ready to greet everybody and show we can do things during COVID-19,” teammate Shaleigh McLendon added.
The parade route took one lap through the parking lot and wrapped up in an hour with no afterparty or games.
As we inch closer to Christmas and New Years Dr. Dobbs of the Department of Health and other hospital administrators are saying to avoid all non-essential travel and big gatherings to keep the second wave from growing and putting a big burden on hospitals.