Editorial: Parade brings community spirit back to downtown

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Organizers of the ‘Tis the Season Holiday Spectacular and all Rowan Countians should be thrilled with last week’s parade and post-parade celebration.

The events brought crowds of people downtown like Salisbury hasn’t seen in a long time. Elsewhere in Rowan County, crowds have gathered for the Faith Fourth, Autumn Jubilee and Rowan County Fair, but COVID-19 has canceled most events of significance or kept them online only. Last week, friends and family members saw their loved ones roll, dance or walk down Main Street. People had a much-needed moment of community entertainment.

Dynamic duo Hen Henderlite and Shari Graham showed once again they know how to put together a first-class event. A large crew of volunteers and city staff also deserve the public’s gratitude. Salisbury city crews, in particular, worked hard to install a community Christmas tree and decorate Bell Tower Green Park and provide public safety during the event.

Graham described the scene in Bell Tower Green well when she told reporter Ben Stansell it was “a dream come true.”

It’s a dream to have such an expansive and varied parade and resources like Bell Tower Green that allow events to bring energy back downtown. With some help from city staff, volunteers and a good plan, anything is possible.

If there’s another spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, as health officials expect, we’ll need more community events like the ‘Tis the Season Spectacular to keep community spirits up, make new connections and rekindle old ones.

Personal connections are nearly as fundamental to a well-functioning community as water, air and food. Without connections and care for one another’s well-being, Rowan Countians are just people who live geographically close. That’s no way to live.

In the many months since the start of the pandemic, Salisbury and Rowan County have shown it’s possible to safely host community events with some basic COVID-19 precautions. Masks, an outdoor setting and vaccinations can be combined to resolve  most concerns.

In the immediate future, Spencer will host Winterfest. That will bring a German marketplace to the Park Plaza area while the Polar Express is happening at the N.C. Transportation Museum.

The next event could be a New Year’s Eve get together at Bell Tower Green — the first event of its kind since the completion of the park.