HARRISBURG -- Of the many events canceled due to concerns about COVID-19, Harrisburg's annual Christmas lights parade wasn't one of them, thrilling viewers Thursday night.
"This is something we look forward to every year," Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek said. "We get floats from all over in this parade."
Harrisburg resident Wilma Simpson was the parade Grand Marshal, escorted by her daughter Beth Montfort at the front of the parade.
McPeek said care was taken to ensure parade entries were spaced away from one another in light of social distancing concerns.
In addition, those watching the parade were reminded to stay spread apart and wear face coverings.
The parade is an event that lends itself to a safe environment, City Economic Development Director Alex Watkins said.
"Because of the colder weather, a lot of folks watch from their houses if they're on the parade route, or they park their cars and watch from there," Watkins said. "Plus, people don't tend to bunch up as much along the street. They stay in their own little groups anyway."
The traditional visit with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus at the end of the parade route was changed to keep a large group of people in a congregated area, McPeek said. It was replaced with an earlier, socially distanced visit with the Clauses at the city courtyard.
"It's been a little different this year, but everyone's been able to accommodate," McPeek said.