Salem Christmas Parade canceled, tree lighting ceremony postponed due to weather concerns

Roanoke Valley News

SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — Mother Nature overpowered Father Christmas this week, leading to the cancellation of Friday’s reimagined Salem Christmas Parade and the postponement of the city’s tree lighting ceremony until Saturday.

In order to make the traditional Christmas parade — which is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Salem — safe and socially distant, officials say the event was moved from its usual route along Main Street to the Salem Civic Center parking lot and scheduled to take place on Friday, Dec. 4.

However, because of a forecast of cold and persistent rain on Friday night, the City of Salem announced on Thursday, Dec. 3, that the event had to be canceled.

“The members of the Kiwanis Club and city workers from a number of departments have worked tirelessly to create this alternative parade and keep folks safe,” said Jim Paxton, Salem Kiwanis Club President-elect and Parade Committee Head. “The one thing we cannot control is the weather, so we made a unified decision to cancel it in the best interest of the participants and attendees. The Kiwanis Club appreciates everyone who tried his or her best to make this a success.”

Even though the parade will not be rescheduled, Salem’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting is still delayed from 6 p.m. on Friday to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Salem Farmers Market.

If you prefer not to venture outside for the tree lighting Saturday evening — which will mark the official start to Salem’s holiday season — you can watch a livestream on the Salem Parks and Recreation Department’s Facebook page.

“We hate that the parade had to be cancelled, but Salem still has many great holiday events lined up in the coming weeks,” said John Shaner, Salem Parks and Recreation Director. “We hope families will take time to enjoy these in a safe manner and appreciate what we have to offer.”

Those other holiday events are listed below:

  • Gingerbread Festival at the Salem Museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5:
    You can get more information on the Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page, but keep in mind that masks are required to enter the museum.
  • Socially distant pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus — which means no lap sitting — at the Salem Civic Center from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, and Sunday, Dec. 6:
    Photos will cost $10 and will be available for download until Thursday, Dec. 10, which means you can post them on social media or print them out. For more information about the social distancing, mask, and sanitation measures that will be implemented to keep this event safe, follow this link.
  • Salem Crafty Christmas at the Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 12:
    You can stroll through the Salem Farmers Market and pick out some holiday gifts from an array of handmade crafts, artisan items, greenery, baked goods, cheeses, eggs, and more. However, all attendees are asked to follow the market’s coronavirus protocols.
  • Salem Holiday Market at the Salem Civic Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12:
    Crafters, artisans, and other vendors will provide a plethora of potential presents for the holiday season at this shopping event. Even though the event is free, attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the Salem-Roanoke County Food Pantry.

For more information on any upcoming holiday events in Salem, click here.

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