KOPN will take the place of the Jaycees to organize the annual Columbia holiday parade in future years, the radio station announced Wednesday.
The parade, which is usually held the weekend after Thanksgiving, will remain similar to previous years, honoring the traditions and cultures that attendees see every year, according to a news release from KOPN.
The 2019 parade will take place the Sunday before Thanksgiving but with a twist.
Instead of organizing the event as a Christmas-oriented parade, KOPN is rebranding it to be more inclusive, spotlighting all cultures and holidays celebrated during the end of the year.
The Jaycees stepped down from hosting the event after the organization disbanded at the end of 2017, said Sean Spence, KOPN's general manager.
There are Jaycees who still want to be involved, he said. KOPN is also welcoming volunteers and entries for the parade from the whole city of Columbia.
“The goal is to really take our time, create something that’s going to be here in another 30, 40, 50, 100 years,” said Spence, who wore a Frosty the Snowman suit at the press conference announcing the change. “It’s an incredible Columbia tradition, and we want to build on that.”
KOPN is hoping to double the size of the parade next year, with about 80 to 100 parade entries. Live music by local artists might also be on the ticket, Spence said.
After the press conference, the organizers invited attendees to sit in on a brainstorming session to discuss plans for future parades. Some ideas included getting local businesses more involved by putting on sidewalk sales and collecting money for charities at the parade.
The parade will follow the same route that it has in past years, beginning at the corner of College Avenue and Broadway and ending on Fifth and Locust streets.
Supervising editor is Sky Chadde.