Community has mixed reaction to cancellation of Victorian Sleighbell Parade


Updated


MANISTEE —  The Victorian Sleighbell Parade was canceled by the Sleighbell Committee, including to the rising record of group occasions nixed due to considerations about COVID-19.

The determination was made at a July 20 assembly of the Sleighbell Committee. The information was introduced by Manistee City Council member Mick Szymanski at a council assembly on July 21.

Szymanski had identified between 10,000 and 20,000 folks attend the parade every year. The occasion brings in guests from throughout the nation.

The Victorian Sleighbell Parade — which might have been in its 32nd yr — would have been held on Dec. 7.

The group has had mixed reactions to the information.

Some, whereas saddened by cancellation, agreed with the choice.

“While it is sad that all of our local events have been canceled this year, I am glad that these boards are taking the pandemic seriously and trying to help keep everyone safe and healthy,” wrote Jennifer Lynn Kirchinger on the Manistee News Advocate’s Facebook web page.


“Grateful the people in charge of those events have the community’s best interests in mind,” wrote Hannah Renee.

Others felt it was too early to make a name.


“This is way too soon to do this cancellation, and the people in the community need this kind of activity to stay sane and well in other ways, let alone the financial necessity,” wrote Deb Mowry. “If people fear Covid, they do not have to go, and asking for mask wearing would not stop the ability to have this parade.”

“Jumped the gun on cancelling the parade. It’s 5 months away,” wrote Winter Cudney. “Things are different from day to day, never know what’s going to be happening in 5 months.”


Szymanski had beforehand stated the parade is an occasion the place contracts want to be solidified forward of time round this time of the yr. In this case, it’s wanted to safe all of the horse groups for the parade.

While the parade is canceled, different occasions often held in the course of the Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend, just like the Jingle Bell Jog, could go on.

“We have every intention to still have the event as long as we can do it legally and have permission from the school,” stated Eric Thuemmel, Jingle Bell Jog Race Director and cross nation coach for Manistee High School.”We’re planning for that weekend to have a race, whether there is a parade or not.”

Thuemmel stated the race was created as a fundraiser for the cross nation workforce years in the past and coincided with Old Christmas Weekend as a result of the occasions drew tons of folks to the realm.

If the occasion couldn’t be held due to state or college restrictions, it might be held just about, just like the current Manistee National Forest Festival Firecracker 5K race.

“If we can’t have the race, we might do it virtually,” Thuemmel stated. “You sign up, run on your own and submit the times. There are no prizes, just finisher medals. We might have to use chip timing so there is less contact.”

Some Sleighbell occasions had already been canceled forward of the choice on the Sleighbell Parade.

The Manistee Hospital Auxiliary had already canceled the Sleighbell Craft Show, Bake Sale and Raffle in June, in accordance to Kathy Berish, a member of the auxiliary’s Sleighbell craft present workforce. The auxiliary had considerations about how to defend each the patrons of the occasion and auxiliary workers, many of that are at larger threat for catching and growing extra severe signs of COVID-19.

Berish stated the workforce had been assembly forward of the June determination in makes an attempt to work out if they may host the occasion safely.

“We have to send out registrations forms to all the crafters in June,” Berish stated. “It is all within the Manistee High School. We could not work out a means to do it to guarantee social distancing and safety. There was no means we might work out how to do it safely.

“Last year, we had 168 booths, and lot of came through there. It was body to body. We tried to come up with some ideas like spacing booths out, but how do you control the traffic flow.  We just couldn’t come up with a good idea. Everybody is going to miss the event. That’s both crafters and shoppers. We have to stay healthy and do what’s smart. “

Berish stated the auxiliary despatched letters to all of the crafters informing them of the choice.

These occasions have been main fundraisers for the auxiliary. In 2019, the craft honest raised $15,000 for emergency room renovations at Manistee Hospital, in accordance to Berish. Renovations that have been placed on maintain due to COVID-19.

“It is our biggest one day fundraiser; we made between $14,000 and $16,000 over the last few years,” Barish stated. “It is a big hit for fundraising. We’re not allowed in the hospital to volunteer and other fundraising events have been canceled as well. COVID-19 has really impacted us.”

Other organizations are nonetheless in discussions on whether or not or not to host their occasion. Kristina Bajtka, membership and advertising and marketing director for the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce, stated the chamber continues to be taking a look at methods to host the Festival of Trees.

“A decision hasn’t been made yet,” Bajtka stated. “We’re discussing what a new type or version of the event could look like. Now that the parade has been canceled, we’re looking options.”

Bajtka stated any modifications or cancellations can be introduced by means of a proper press launch.

The Victorian Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend has had an extended historical past in Manistee.

The occasion was created by the Uniqueness Committee, when members Jerry Smith and Amanda Pinkerton offered the thought of a particular Christmas weekend celebrating the Victorian character of Manistee. Among the concepts developed have been Victorian decorations within the streets and shops, a Christmas play, Victorian costumes all through the downtown, meals distributors on the streets from native nonprofits, and a Victorian parade.

Authenticity was key to the occasion and it was concluded all the things needs to be from the Victorian Era. The occasion was additional developed when the Uniqueness Committee introduced in Pauline Watson of Leavenworth, Washington, for 3 days of seminars on theme group improvement. Leavenworth had 33 years of profitable expertise with their themed group together with a 9 day Christmas occasion drawing tens of hundreds of folks.

The first yr occasions, 1989, included open homes in any respect River Street shops and the Manistee County Historical Museum’s Christmas exhibit. The parade that yr drew 15 to 20 entries; the final a 20 foot Christmas tree.

Since then, the parade and Old Christmas Weekend has developed and turn out to be a headlining occasion for Manistee, turning a gradual winter weekend into one of the busiest weekends of the yr.

Related: Manistee City Council weighs execs and cons of giant occasions throughout pandemic



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