Holiday parade

This year's holiday parade will include heightened security in the wake of Sunday's attack on a parade in suburban Milwaukee. (File photo)

Safety is going to be a top priority at the Garland City of the North Christmas Parade set to run through downtown Ashland Dec. 4.

After the Sunday attack on a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce Director Mary McPhetridge spoke with local police who will heighten security measures for the annual Ashland tradition. Not only will there be a squad car to begin the race as usual, but a second squad will bring up the rear, McPhetridge said.

“It’s a small parade, but we take it very seriously and want everyone to feel as safe as possible,” she stressed.

The parade has opened the Bay Area’s holiday season for more than 50 years with local businesses and service clubs building their own floats that are judged for creativity and presentation.

“It has always been a hometown celebration as everyone is getting for the Christmas season,” McPhetridge said.

The parade has become such an important event in the community that not even COVID-19 could stop it. Rather than having people come downtown to watch the parade, the parade came to the people, winding through neighborhoods instead, and the community watched from their front porches and yards.

An average of 25 floats participate every year, and each year they get more and more creative. Over the years, people have added more technology, moving parts and, of course, more lights, McPhetridge said.

“It’s fun to see what people come up with,” she said.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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