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No parade of Lights

NEW ULM — There will likely be no Parade of Lights this year.

The day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 27, would have marked the 32nd annual New Ulm Parade of Lights, but efforts to continue the event have fallen through — in light of the surging COVID pandemic and a loss of participants.

New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce President Michael Looft said he is recommending the Chamber of Commerce Board cancel the event this year.

A month ago, there was the hope of continuing the Parade of Lights tradition by hosting a reverse parade. The idea of a reverse parade is to keep the floats/units parked curbside while the spectators drive down the street in vehicles to view the parade. The New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce planned to have floats parked on Minnesota Street.

However, with Brown County and Minnesota having record increases in COVID rates, the Minnesota Department of Health has recommended shutting down community events.

Looft said there also also concern among parade participants. At this time, all but 20 floats have dropped out of the parade.

Looft said the Chamber of Commerce does not want to move forward with the Parade of Lights this year if is something unrecognizable from past years.

“That is not enough to wow people,” Looft said. This, coupled with a new restriction that will close all bars and restaurants on Friday, has dampened the purpose of the parade.

The Parade of Lights is not the only tradition canceled because of COVID. The New Ulm Community Thanksgiving Meal was also canceled. New Ulm schools will be returning to a distance learning model after Thanksgiving.

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