Just as the majority of 2020 has looked different, so will celebrating a staple event during the Christmas season. The Monroe County Chamber of Commerce announced an alternative approach to this year’s Christmas parades in Aberdeen and Amory, which encourages families and individuals to be festive.

After talking to officials in both towns, it was agreed the Christmas through Monroe format would be better than traditional parades. People are encouraged to decorate their vehicles, dress in Christmas costumes and drive around in designated loops in Aberdeen and Amory.

“Both mayors wanted to go that route, just because we don’t know what COVID will look like in December. This way, people can stay in their vehicles but if they do get out, they can still social distance,” said Kim Schafer, resource with the chamber of commerce. “With surrounding cities canceling parades altogether, we’re hoping we can draw in more people from surrounding areas to enjoy our Main Streets.”

Vehicles must be street legal to participate.

“People need to realize with high traffic, the pace will be slower than normal so people need to be able to take their time and enjoy it,” Schafer said.

Aberdeen’s event will be held Dec. 10, and Amory’s will be Dec. 12. Both events are planned from 6 until 8 p.m. More details will follow closer to time about designated loops in each city.

Additionally, there will be opportunities to shop local.

“We are partnering with the cities’ Main Streets and the Aberdeen Visitors Bureau. We are still going to have prizes so instead of judging floats this year, we’re insisting on people shopping local,” Schafer said.

She said people who shop the day of the event will have their name and amount of money spent entered for a drawing. Prizes include cash, winning what you spend at the store and student-made crafts from the Amory and Monroe County career and technical centers.

“Hopefully that will drive business on Main Street. The merchants will stay open later, and they’re going to try to do more festive things on Main Street for people to look at,” Schafer said.

Smithville will host its traditional parade Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m., and organizers in Nettleton were scheduled to meet Oct. 12 to make a decision about this year’s parade. Details about Nettleton’s decision will be in the Oct. 21 edition of the Monroe Journal.

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