‘Reverse’ Christmas parade set for Saturday in Millsboro

MILLSBORO – A modified Millsboro Christmas Parade is on for Saturday – now a stationary event, not a mobile procession in response to the state’s recent COVID-19 restrictions.

Rather than participating in a procession, subject to space availability, those who have signed up may display their float, vehicle or other entry in designated areas located near the Millsboro Town Center at 322 Wilson Highway.

“In order to absolutely ensure that it complies with the new COVID-19-related directives from the governor, the town has decided to modify the parade component of the event for this year,” said Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson.

“It was kind of a last-minute adjustment in response to the new directives from the governor. But everything else will remain intact, if anything maybe be a little bit more reinforced or enhanced.”

Spectators are encouraged to view the entries from their vehicles. Final details of what is known as a “reverse” parade are being finalized this week.

“The exact locations as far as where the vehicles can be parked are still being worked out,” Mr. Hudson said Monday.

The reverse parade will precede the tree lighting on the town center property.

Festivities will start around 5 p.m. Radio talk show host Dan Gaffney from Delaware 105.9 will serve as the master of ceremonies.

As originally planned, a drive-in-style “tree lighting” event will feature live music, provided by Delmarva Christian School and Lighthouse Christian School and free cookies and milk (courtesy of the Millsboro Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary and Lewes Dairy).

“The thinking is the governor and the Division of Public Health are encouraging folks to stay in their vehicles as much as possible. So, whether it be viewing the floats, or listening to the music or getting milk and cookies, all those things can be done from a person’s vehicle,” said Mr. Hudson. “That’s not to say there won’t be some people out and about. But the idea is to try to relay the message from the governor which is, ‘Stay in your vehicle if possible.’”

Mr. Hudson said town officials are hoping for a huge turnout, noting there should be ample space as the town center fronts on two roadways, Wilson Highway and Mitchell Street.

“I think it is pretty well designed for this type of event. I expect a big turnout. I hope people from throughout central Delmarva will come,” said Mr. Hudson.

Several other events are planned.

Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce is staging Topsy Turvy COVID Christmas Tuesday, Dec. 15, with stationary floats and other entries on display in quadrants of The Circle for spectator viewing from their vehicles. Viewing is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, plans are in the works for a parade-type holiday event in Gumboro.

Parade plans in Seaford, Laurel, Lewes and Milton are canceled. The town of Dagsboro will not be holding a Christmas parade this year, nor will the town of Selbyville.

“We’re pleased to be as I understand it, one of the fairly small number of towns that are still putting on some sort of Christmas events. It’s good to be in that group for sure,” said Mr. Hudson of the Millsboro event.

“I have nothing but respect for any town or organization that is trying to do special events for the public this year to keep the Christmas spirit going strong. Again, hats off. I hope a lot of towns and organizations will make the courageous choice to move forward. It means more hard work, and more creativity for sure. But I’m really proud that the town of Millsboro … is bucking the trend.”

Monday evening, the city of Seaford and the Gateway Park Committee staged the annual tree lighting in Gateway Park.

Seaford Mayor David Genshaw welcomed those who attended the event, scaled down this year due to the ongoing pandemic.

“I want to welcome everybody that braved the weather and came out tonight amidst a pandemic and an opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Lord Savior,” Mayor Genshaw said. “And maybe most importantly in difficult times like this, it is so important that we gather and celebrate and worship. We all miss it. It has been a long 10 months.”