In response to the cancellation of the Christmas parade held annually in downtown Franklin by the Kiwanis Club of Franklin, residents have begun organizing an alternate event in its place.

The Citizen’s Christmas Parade is intended to be held Dec. 5 at noon and run from Bicentennial Park down Fifth Avenue to the Five Points Intersection, down Main Street and back to Bicentennial Park.

The event was discussed during the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen work session Oct. 27, as the event requires a special permit from the city. City Administrator Eric Stuckey said the city is working to ensure the event will include safety measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus among attendees.

“[The route] would be a little shorter than the Kiwanis Route but provide more sidewalk area, especially along Fifth Avenue, to maybe help the public spread out more,” Stuckey said. “We’ve put some specific conditions in there or recommendations in there from the special events team’s review our focus is to provide the event but provide [it] in as safe a way [as] possible for the public and provide city staff members that will be working the event."

Stuckey said city staff is working to ensure that guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Tennessee Pledge are followed, as well as to enforce the county’s mask mandate, which requires masks in public places when social distancing is not possible The mandate currently expires Oct. 30 but is expected to extended through the end of the year, according to Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson.

The parade was proposed by residents Erin Holland and Kate Butler, who organized the event and set up a GoFundMe for the event with a $6,000 goal. Stuckey said the costs needed for the parade are comparable for what the city requires the Kiwanis Club to pay each year to provide police officers to work the event, plus a damage deposit.

“Kate and myself decided to take on this parade as soon as we heard that the Kiwanis weren’t going to be able to do it this year, namely because we both have middle school- and high school-age kids, and we just feel like the parades were such a great opportunity for kids to perform for their community and for their parents and for their friends,” Holland said. “We just felt like we could still do a parade, and we can still do it safely, and we can allow those kids to still have that tradition.”

Holland and Butler said they intend to hold the parade for this year only and do not intend to have a competing event when the Kiwanis Club is able to hold their annual event in 2021.

“We just want to do it for this year when the Kiwanis can’t do it,” Holland said.

The city’s Christmas events have been modified this year to take social distancing into account. The annual Christmas tree lighting will be virtual this year.

“This year’s different—we all know that—but we’re trying to make sure we’re still embracing the fun and the joy of the holiday, and this is part of that,” Stuckey said. “But there are a lot of other things the city is doing to plug into the holidays.”