No Cambridge-Dorchester Christmas parade this year

CAMBRIDGE, Md. — The Cambridge-Dorchester County Christmas Parade Committee canceled this year’s event on Monday. Plans are to resume the tradition in December of 2021.

The parade has long been the unofficial start of the Christmas season in the county, and has been a venue for marching band, fire company and other entrants’ competitions. Thousands come from around the region to take part and witness the fun.

But not this year, as caution regarding infection by coronavirus took precedence.

“It’s with heavy hearts that we share this press release,” a statement from organizers said.

The group’s full statement follows:

“On Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, the Cambridge-Dorchester County Christmas Parade committee met to discuss this year’s parade, the 72nd annual event, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. Many topics were covered, including whether the event this year is feasible given the ever-looming coronavirus pandemic.

“The committee grappled with the decision but ultimately decided that this year’s event should be canceled/postponed until December 2021.

“At the fore of the decision were concerns regarding fund-raising efforts at a difficult time for many local businesses. The Christmas parade is 100% donor-funded, local businesses making up 90% of those contributions. Committee members determined that they did not wish to put further strain on community business owners in asking for donations.

“Additional concerns included the lack of, or inability of particular groups to participate, particularly the absence of marching bands and school clubs as a result of the pandemic.

“On Sept. 8, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan renewed the State of Emergency and on Sept. 28, issued Executive Order 20-09-28-01, which recommends canceling large gatherings to reduce the spread of COVID-19, continued requirements for use of face coverings, social distancing, and limiting indoor AND outdoor venue capacity.

“Of genuine concern is the health, safety, and welfare of participants and spectators. The committee recognized that a parade is an event that is difficult to ensure guidelines are followed.

“To stay within local and state guidelines, and in recognizing genuine concern for the health and safety of our participants, spectators, and volunteers, we have decided to postpone the 2020 Cambridge-Dorchester County Christmas Parade.

“We will use this year as a building year, allowing our local businesses to recover, and to focus on bringing a better than ever event next year. This year’s theme was to be, ‘Fishing You a Merry Christmas.’ We’ll try again next year to go fishing and will re-offer the 72nd annual — we’re not canceling just postponing until 2021!”

Also Monday night, the Hurlock Town Council decided to cancel the 2020 Christmas Parade, due to size, distancing and mask requirements.

“Hopefully it can be worked so that it’s bigger and better next year,” a statement from the Welcome to Hurlock social media page said. “We hate the COVID-19 as much as you.”

In another move related to the holiday season, the Hurlock Town Council on Monday decided it would not endorse Halloween observances. The board withheld both support and opposition for celebrations.

“It should be an individual decision that if a home owner wants to distribute candy, then they should turn an outside light on which would indicate to parents and children that you are in fact handing out candy,” the online statement said.

“If a house doesn’t have a light on, move on to the next. If you feel the need to walk and go door to door, then by all means do so safely. All we ask is that all CDC Guidelines are carried out — masks, distancing and sanitizing — and it’s done by previous years’ time schedule of 6-8 p.m. Police will be on duty looking out for your safety.”