By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
A dismal forecast for drenching rains was the Grinch that stole the Christmas parade in Bowling Green Saturday morning.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Earlene Kilpatrick, executive director of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce which organizes the annual Holiday Parade. “We don’t want to make this call.”
It was just drizzling at the parade start time, which had been pushed up to 9:30 a.m. in hopes of avoiding the heavy rains. But the window between heavy rains was just not big enough for the two-hour parade.
“There’s a huge red, orange and yellow mass heading our way,” Kilpatrick said of the weather radar. “We would be in the middle of the parade and hit by a massive downpour.”
This is not the first time that the annual parade down Main Street has been cancelled due to weather. A couple years ago it was an ice storm that shut it down.
Kilpatrick realizes that means several organizations and businesses built floats that won’t be seen, that bags of candy were collected that won’t be tossed out to crowds, and that children and adults are disappointed.
But rescheduling the parade is just not an option, she said.
“I don’t think people realize the logistics it takes,” Kilpatrick said.
That would mean rescheduling 96 parade units, six marching bands, 70 volunteers and city crews.
“It is just difficult to have another successful parade if we had a rain date,” she said. “It’s a logistics nightmare and a tremendous burden to all the groups involved to hold a second date.”
The annual parade brings a lot of people to the downtown – however, some tend to be more fair weather parade fans.
“We have seen crowds as large as 3,000,” Kilpatrick said. “But when the weather gets bad, it thins down really quickly. Downtown Bowling Green is a wind tunnel anyway.”
Kilpatrick was particularly disappointed in the cancellation since Bowling Green was going to be honored during the parade by Ohio Magazine for its Best Hometown award.
Parade planners had been watching weather forecasts all week – hoping for the rain to go elsewhere.
“A lot of us don’t sleep,” Kilpatrick said as the forecasts continued to look grim. “You’re hopeful up to the very last minute it will change.”
But it didn’t.
The weather was dry for another city holiday tradition – the annual tree lighting in front of Wood County District Public Library on Friday evening.
“The tree lighting went off without a hitch,” Kilpatrick said. “Why can’t we have that weather today?”
But Kilpatrick assured that the Holiday Parade will return next year – weather permitting. “It will come back stronger than ever for next year.”