While the COVID-19 pandemic has led the Town of Leesburg to scrap many of its popular annual events this year, the Kiwanis Club’s Halloween parade will not be one of them. But this year’s event will look a whole lot different.
According to Leesburg Kiwanis Club Secretary Bob Wright, the organizers determined after consulting with Loudoun Health Department Director Dr. David Goodfriend that hosting the parade as usual with throngs of people lining King Street could create a COVID-19 super spreader environment.
Club leaders then worked with town staff and the Leesburg Police Department to find an alternative. So this year the event will be similar to what the town did as a substitute for its Fourth of July parade.
On Saturday, Oct. 31, a condensed parade will wind through town neighborhoods at two different times during the day, much like the July 4th holiday’s “Wave Parade,” which featured Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty atop a fire truck weaving through neighborhoods.
The condensed Halloween parade, however, will be a bit longer than the July 4 rendition and offer some familiar favorites.
“The parade will retain its character with a color guard, the police, fire and rescue, the giant pumpkin from Nalls Farm in Berryville, and a few themed floats. We encourage organizations that put floats in the parade to apply for one of the slots in the parade,” Wright said in an email.
Notably absent from the parade, however, will be the usual cavalry of candidates running for office on the upcoming Election Day and their swarms of campaign supporters and volunteers.
“We are asking political party representatives and candidates for elected office not to apply,” Wright said. “Including them would swell the parade to beyond the total of seven to eight vehicles planned.”
Another change for this year is that candy and other items will not be thrown from participating floats and vehicles. However, bags of candy will be passed out at the Ampersand Pantry Project the week of Halloween. Details are also being worked out with Loudoun Hunger Relief, Wright said.
Town residents will be able to track the parade’s route via the GLYMPSE smartphone app, and children are encouraged to dress in their costumes to enjoy the shortened parade.
Parade details and an application to apply to be one of the floats in the parade can be found at leesburgkiwanis.org. Leah Kosin, assistant public information officer for the Town of Leesburg, said more details on the parade, including times, should be available in the next week or so.