While Aberdeen and Amory’s downtowns are lit up with Christmas charm, events planned for this week will offer people the opportunity to add to them through alternative parades.

The Monroe County Chamber of Commerce organizes Christmas parades for both cities but due to the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, it will host its inaugural Christmas through Monroe, which encourages people to drive around designated loops.

“The governor’s mandate would have canceled the parades, and I’m proud of our volunteers who helped so we can have this despite the mandate. Hopefully we’ll have a great participation. We’ve had several inquiries from people wanting to know how they can be a part of it,” said Kelly Martin, community development director for the chamber.

Christmas through Monroe reignites the pastime many people had growing up of riding the loop in their hometown.

Aberdeen’s event is Dec. 10, and Amory’s event is Dec. 12. The times are from 6 to 8 p.m. both nights.

Aberdeen’s loop for the night is from the Aberdeen Main Street Depot at the intersection of Commerce and Chestnut streets through town to the Upper Deck and back. In Amory, it will be Main Street from Highway 6 to Highway 278.

“In addition to the designated route in Aberdeen, you can also ride through and see the lights near the Adams-French House, and there will be Cookies with Mrs. Claus at Artisans Marketplace,” Martin said. “In Amory, wherever they want to turn around is fine if they want to make a shorter loop.”

Members of the Riverview Garden Club also plan to offer hot chocolate at the Cooperwood building, located at the intersection of Commerce and Maple streets in Aberdeen.

The streets will not be blocked off in either town for Christmas through Monroe. Participants are asked to be safe when participating and mindful that children are involved.

“Decorations aren’t mandatory but are encouraged just to add to the festivities,” Martin said. “If you’re a people watcher, you can park and watch the other vehicles. Get takeout from a restaurant or a cup of coffee and just see what your community is doing.”

She encourages anyone who would normally participate in a traditional Christmas parade such as pageant winners, clubs and members of car clubs to join in the fun in both towns.

“We’re looking forward to it. It will be a great event for our community and our merchants as well. If people aren’t comfortable going into the merchants’ stores, they can call and ask them if they have something in particular,” Martin said. “There are still several ways people can support merchants without going inside. Our towns wouldn’t be as robust as they are without our merchants.”

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