RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Steering Committee for the Festival of Lights Parade has announced that the event scheduled for November 28, 2020 has been cancelled.
“Although it was a tough decision to make, we do feel it is the right decision,” said Connie Olson, Steering Committee Chair. “Since the parade’s inception, the committee has worked to deliver a high quality event that is safe for everyone participating.”
After corresponding with the Rapid City Police Department, the parade’s volunteer coordinator, and several of the event’s sponsors, it was the committee’s decision to cancel this year’s event. “The safety and well-being of our community members is always our number one priority. If we can’t, in good faith, ensure that our participants, staff, and spectators will be safe, that’s a problem,” said Olson.
The Festival of Lights Parade requires a large number of volunteers and support from the Rapid City Police Department. Due to increasing instances of officers and volunteers needing to quarantine from exposure to or infection of COVID-19, the Steering Committee is unable to guarantee the necessary number of staff or volunteers needed will be available.
“To put aside concerns surrounding the current public health crisis for the sake of tradition is not in the best interest of public safety,” shared Lt. Cathy Bock, Special Operations Lieutenant for the Rapid City Police Department.
The Festival of Lights Parade has had several float entries pull out from the parade in recent days. “Some of the groups shared they were uncomfortable gathering to work on their floats while others stated they weren’t able to find volunteers to help at all,” said Olson.
Those who have registered and paid to enter a float in this year’s parade will be reimbursed their entry fee or allowed to roll it over to next year’s event.
The Holiday Celebration and Winter Market at Main Street Square scheduled for Saturday, November 28th is still planned for 2:00-6:00 p.m..