GALLIPOLIS — This year, as classes, church services, and social activities moved to an online format to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some long-held traditions have become virtual to safely celebrate.
This year, the Gallipolis Christmas Parade has adopted an online format to prevent crowds from gathering and prevent the spread of the virus. As reported by Ohio Valley Publishing on Friday, the Ohio Department of Health reported a total of 816 cases of COVID-19 since March in Gallia County. This is an increase of 51 since Wednesday and an increase of 215 since the previous Friday. ODH also lists 15 deaths, two more than previously reported. ODH reported a total of 62 hospitalizations and 414 presumed recovered individuals as of Friday.
This is the first year the Christmas Parade has been celebrated online.
“We wanted to do something that was safe, but continued our tradition,” Kaitlynn Halley, assistant director of the Gallia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which organizes the parade each year, said. “So, after talking to our staff and our Board, this idea is what we landed on. It’s really simple.”
Those who wanted to take part in the virtual parade submitted photographs to the Gallia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and they will be compiled into a video that will be posted on the Bureau’s YouTube and Facebook pages, Halley said.
“People were being safe and social distancing and being creative with this year’s theme, ‘Let’s Take an Elfie.’”
The Bureau received 67 entries for the parade, from “a good mix of community organizations, businesses, schools, and royalty,” Halley told the Tribune.
Though it has been more difficult to form community and socialize due to the pandemic, Halley believes that preserving traditions as we can is still valuable and important.
“We look at it as this is something really for the kids, as well as our older community members, and they are all those who are most vulnerable,” she said. “So, we wanted to be able to still provide something for them.”
The video will also feature a “message from the Man in Red,” Halley added. Even a pandemic can’t stop Santa.
The parade can be viewed at noon on Dec. 5 on the Bureau’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
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Sharla Moody is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing from Gallipolis, Ohio. She is a graduate of River Valley High School and currently attends Yale University.