The slick condition of sidewalks and side streets after an overnight snowfall was the deciding factor leading to the postponement of the annual Joplin Christmas parade on Tuesday.
It may be the first time that the Joplin Jaycees — longtime parade sponsors — have had to call off a parade because of weather conditions, said Casey Starnes, Jaycees president and chairman of the parade committee.
“We hate canceling, but we felt like it wouldn’t be safe for people,” he said.
Starnes said the group hopes to reschedule the parade for next Tuesday, but officials will not make a decision until they can check with bands and organizations that had entered the parade to learn if they can participate on the new date.
“I’m spending today trying to reach everyone by 4:30 (p.m.) to make sure they don’t try to come,” he said. “Main Street is in good condition, but we felt like the sidewalks and side streets wouldn’t be, and that it wasn’t a safe environment for people.”
Starnes said he made the decision after driving side streets near the parade route to check conditions after several inches of snow fell overnight. He said he also talked with Joplin police and city officials, and he heard from some people involved with parade entries who said they were concerned about road conditions and cold weather, especially for children.
Starnes said he checked with Jaycees who have been involved in past parades and was told this may be the first one the group has had to postpone.
“One member said there was a heavy snow before one other parade,” he said. “They went ahead and had it, but all the marching bands pulled out.”
Starnes said he hated to make the decision to call off the parade, but that most participants he had been able to reach by midafternoon had been understanding. He said contacting some had been difficult because schools and some other organizations’ offices were closed because of the snow.
“The main thing we’ve tried to do is get everybody contacted about the cancellation,” he said. “Then we’ll talk about a new date, based on their schedules. We’ve also talked about a holiday parade in early January. We really want to give the city their parade.”
CASEY STARNES, Joplin Jaycees president, said a new date for the parade will be posted on the Jaycees’ Facebook page. He said he hopes a decision can be announced today.