The Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce was planning a large celebration for the 25th anniversary of its Annual Lighted Holiday Parade.

And while the event still is set for Saturday, Nov. 14, at 5:30 p.m., there will be significant changes this year. For the safety of residents and visitors, the number of entries has been reduced, so as to move the parade along faster.

Additionally, walking entries are limited to 15 people, and there will be no distribution of candy or literature to spectators. All parade participants are expected to wear facemasks.

The parade committee has worked hard to make the event accessible to everyone, and thanks to sponsors LSM Chiropractic and Thrivent Financial, the entire parade will be live-streamed so residents can watch the parade from the safety and comfort of their own homes.

Though the event is outdoors, the elevated COVID cases in Jefferson County make any public gathering a health risk, and the parade committee encourages families to mask up or stay home and enjoy the digital version.

“The best way to show your holiday spirit this year is to physically distance, be respectful of others, and stay within the guidelines of the CDC and county health department,” said Carrie Chisholm, chamber executive director. “As the COVID cases rise, there is still the possibility of another shutdown, and the cancellation of the event. “It is an unusual year, and it requires that we be flexible and cautious.”

The parade starts sharply at 5:30 p.m. from Milwaukee Avenue and travels through downtown Fort Atkinson on Main Street, ending at Festival Foods on Madison Avenue. All floats will be lighted, and many will feature holiday music.

The United Way of Jefferson County’s popular chili cook-off, which normally follows the parade at the municipal building, has been canceled. Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus are not taking place, but there will be opportunities later in the season for children to relay their Christmas wishes to Old Saint Nick.

The parade will include the following entries: American Legion Dugout, Atkinson Building & Ground Maintenance, Capputan, Driftskippers Snowmobile Club, FCCU; Fort Atkinson Brownies, Cadettes and Juniors; Fort Atkinson Equestrian Team, Fort Lock Company, Gemuetlichkeit Days, Homes for Independent Living, Humane Society of Jefferson County, Jefferson County Head Start Preschool, Kennel Club of Fort Atkinson, Lady Blackhawk Basketball, LettsewK9 Fundraising Inc., Mike Foerster Real Estate, NorthFit Creamery, Sleek Coatings; St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, School and Preschool; W&A, Yerges Van Liners Inc., and Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The public is invited to join in the community spirit on Nov. 14, in-person or online, for the Fort Atkinson Holiday Parade. Watch the chamber Facebook page for details on how to enjoy the live-stream.

Additional information is available at www.fortchamber.com.

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