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This year, 2020, has certainly been a weird year, in which the coronavirus pandemic has turned practically everything upside down, inside out, forth and back.

While many cities and communities have scrapped plans for traditional holiday activities that would attract large and close-quarters crowds, DeBary’s leaders say they will try something new this year — a twist on the city’s standard Christmas parade, an event to be known as a reverse parade.

“I do think we’re still struggling with how to do it safely,” Mayor Karen Chasez said.

A reverse parade is the opposite of the usual parade or procession. Rather, the units that would normally march or ride in a parade will be standing in place or parked along a roadway, and the people in the units will watch the spectators pass by in their cars.

Details are still to be worked out, but DeBary Parks and Recreation Director Jason Schaitz says the reverse parade will take place 6-8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, at Gemini Springs Park. The nighttime event will require “some lighting” along the route.

City Manager Carmen Rosamonda said he does not yet know how many units there will be, or the deadline for prospective groups, organizations or other entities to apply. Usually, the DeBary Christmas Parade draws a wide array of groups, including first responders, private businesses, veterans and civic organizations, youth athletic teams, and school groups such as marching bands and cheerleaders.

“We will try to end 2020 with a holiday spirit,” former Vice Mayor Erika Benfield said.


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