KEARNEY — What happens when the different floats, cars, and people dressed in their holiday best decide to set up and have the parade watchers be the ones passing by? It’s called a EDARAP or parade backwards, said Kurt Hamilton, executive director of the Kearney Enrichment Council.
“The whole event is going to be drive-through,” he explained. “From 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, we will have the Lighted Christmas Parade. All the entries will be stationary. I am expecting about 30 entries or so. The idea is to get the community to drive through the route, further ensuring safety.”
Parade goers will start at Platte-Clay Way or near Kearney Feed, 300 W. Washington St., Hamilton said.
“We will have the police at Highway 33 and Washington Street as we can’t have any major disruptions to traffic flows,” he said. “Bea from Bea’s Flowers will be giving out carnations too. Then drivers will head by Kearney City Hall to be greeted by the mayor, city staff and Santa.”
After the carloads move through the lighted parade route, they will turn onto Grove Street and then into Old Church Plaza to begin the Kearney Magical Night. This two-hour window is again done by driving through the plaza.
“The first stop is by Anytime Fitness where families will receive goodie bags and five crafts to do,” Hamilton said. “They will also receive QR codes on how the crafts will look and any aid in finishing them.”
The second stop is the trolley. Hamilton said it will be set up as a small mall where volunteers will run and grab small gifts (for a nominal fee) for parents that kids suggest. The third stop is another goodie bad with cookie decorating supplies and hot cocoa from D’Creamery and Shelter Insurance.
“Initially we had a sign-up online and had 1,000 signed up,” he said. “The businesses are looking at around 500 bags at least. When we had the Trunk or Treat, we hit 1,900 because people are craving things to do. Plus we are trying to adapt to COVID restrictions. We have tried to prepare for anything, but the ultimate goal is to offer people a good, fun night.”
Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.