Downtown Grand Junction has officially canceled this year's traditional tree lighting ceremony and the parade of lights.

The news, though disappointing, is not surprising. In light of what's going on in regards to COVID-19 in the community, I can't imagine anybody questioning the decision to not have these events. The good news, however, is there will be some fantastic Christmas happenings downtown that will make us all feel a whole lot better about the holiday season.

The Parade of Lights is traditionally held on the first Saturday of December, while the community tree lighting normally takes place at Wells Fargo bank on the weekend before Thanksgiving. This will be the first time in 18 years that I have not been a part of the tree lighting ceremony in downtown Grand Junction, so, of course, I am greatly disappointed.

The Downtown 12 Days of Christmas will start on December 1 and will feature socially distanced events including a reverse parade of lights and pop-up entertainment on  Main Street. A schedule of musical entertainment will be released in the coming weeks so be on the lookout for it.

Here's how the reverse parade is going to work.

Each evening, Main Street will be closed from 4th Street to 5th Street. Lighted floats will line the street and the public can walk by and vote for their favorite. For the first time ever, there will be a People's Choice award for the best float based on public votes. Safety and socially distancing measures will be implemented during the 12 days of Christmas.

It's hard to imagine Grand Junction not having a parade of lights going forward, but, who knows. This could become a brand new Grand Junction holiday tradition.

The theme of the reverse parade will be "Christmas Through the Decades." Entries are being accepted beginning at 12 noon today (Thursday) for the reverse parade. Downtown Grand Junction is also looking for entertainment groups interested in doing some of the pop-up performances during the holidays. These could be local bands, dance groups, marching bands,  carolers, and holiday performers. Applications will be accepted beginning at noon today.

The holiday season for 2020 will look very different from years gone by, but it's still the holiday season - which is mostly about the spirit of the season. We have to make the best of the situation we are in, knowing there will be better days in the future. Kudos to downtown Grand Junction for their efforts to make this year's holiday season a little more joyful and festive, despite the current circumstances.

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