The Chamber of Commerce of the Mastics & Shirley announced Friday that it canceled its long-running annual Christmas parade due to Covid-19 restrictions.
This would have marked the parade’s 51st year.
Chamber president Beth Wahl said the Town of Brookhaven is not accepting permit applications and the chamber cannot assume that groups will participate because of the current gathering restrictions.
Besides, she said, “Even if we had 20 permits, it wouldn’t matter because there are no groups that would participate in the parade.”
Some local residents who read the chamber’s announcement on its Facebook page, expressed their disappointment.
“Let’s keep taking things away from the kids especially with no infection rate,” one post read. “No one is hardly getting sick in Suffolk County.”
Wahl responded by restating that the cancelation was mainly due to the lack of participants.
“We feel very sad and we look forward to this parade every year,” Wahl said.
Many organizations, events, sports clubs etc, are following careful guidelines and are not meeting this fall. The majority of parade attendees are from school district sports clubs and teams, Wahl said.
With no sports teams or clubs running this fall, “it is impossible” to run a parade this year, she commented on Facebook.
“The Girl Scouts have told us that they will not be in the parade and most of the local organizations that usually take part are not even meeting so there is no way they would be in the parade,” Wahl told GreaterMoriches.
For the previous 50 years, the parade traditionally took place during the first week of December, starting out at the South Port Shopping Center on Montauk Highway in Shirley and ending at the Mastic firehouse. Last year’s parade featured performers, dancers, schools, and many other groups.
Wahl mentioned that the chamber is now brainstorming alternative ideas for a parade. However, if the town still won’t issue permits, there will be few options.
“We feel terrible for canceling,” Wahl said. “We work very hard three months before the parade occurs and we would have loved to make it happen.”