The Fountain City Optimist Christmas Parade has been canceled due to safety concerns, according to parade chairman Bill Gentry.
A letter was sent out to participants on Nov. 16 stating the Knoxville Police Department had concerns with the route because traffic travels on the southbound side as the parade moves north.
The parade has traveled the same route for 48 years.
The letter goes on to explain that they will have to cancel this year’s parade because they wouldn’t be able to coordinate a new route and work with businesses fast enough.
Fountain City Christmas Parade in 2011.
“Please accept my apology for disappointing our community,” Gentry wrote in his letter.
He said he’s working on the new route for next year and hopes those interested will be back in the future.
The letter sent to participants read as follows:
“Dear Parade Participant,
I regret to inform you that the annual Fountain City Optimist Christmas Parade has been cancelled for this year.
I was informed on November 7, 2017 by the Knoxville Police Department that the safety concerns for the route was a problem. As we have had the route the same for 48 years, in today’s world we have to look at all aspects in regards to safety. Having the South bound lanes of Broadway open to traffic while the parade travels along the North Bound side is not safe. Closing Broadway completely would not be logical and have a negative impact on the businesses along Broadway. Please accept my apology for disappointing our community. I have tried to come up with all party’s involved including the business owners. I will be working on this NEW route for next year and I hope you will stay in touch and allow us to include you in our mailing list for the future event.
© 2017 WBIR