From Staff Reports

This year’s planned Liberty City Christmas parade has been canceled due to concerns about COVID-19, according to the Sabine Volunteer Fire Department.

“The Sabine Fire Department, along with support of our county government, have decided to cancel the 2020 Liberty City Christmas Parade,” the fire department stated on its website. “We believe the health of our citizens is the up most importance. We are sorry for any inconvenience and hope 2021 will be a better year.”

The fire department said it made the decision after speaking with Gregg County officials and with the county’s emergency management coordinator.

The Liberty City Christmas parade is among several that have been canceled across East Texas this year.

Gilmer officials said they are not planning a parade this year. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Kilgore announced the cancellation of its parade.

Before that, on Oct. 27, Longview Mayor Andy Mack said the city’s Christmas parade also would be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. The Longview Christmas parade typically draws thousands of people from across East Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order in July that prohibits outdoor events to no more than 10 people without permission from the mayor or county judge. Although Abbott has since eased other pandemic-related restrictions, the one concerning outdoor gatherings is unchanged.

Officials in Gladewater, Hallsville and Henderson said Friday that Christmas parades in those cities are still planned. Gladewater is planning its Christmas parade for Dec. 8; Hallsville’s is planned for Dec. 1; Henderson’s parade is scheduled Dec. 3.

The City of Marshall also is not having a traditional Christmas parade this year. Instead, the city has been considering options for a reverse parade in which residents can drive a designated route to see businesses decorated for the holidays. Residents can vote virtually on best decorated businesses.