Frostfest Parade not canceled, but different

Downtown Hays Development Corporation
A traditional Frostfrest parade will not be held this year, but the Downtown Hays Development Corporation is encouraging "the community to be the Frostfest parade" on Dec. 19.

An almost 20-year tradition in Downtown Hays, the Frostfest Parade, will look a little different this year. Downtown Hays Development Corporation (DHDC) has consulted with the Hays Police Department and determined a traditional parade is not in the community's best interest. With Covid-19 cases still at a high, many alternatives were considered.

"We don't want to say the parade is canceled," Sara Bloom DHDC Executive Director, said. "But we're calling on the community to create an extraordinary event, unlike any parade we've ever had before."

DHDC is looking to the community to "be" the Frostfest parade. The community is encouraged to decorate their vehicles, throw on some glow sticks, and break out those Santa and elf hats. From 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 19, DHDC hopes Main Street will turn into a magical, illuminated wonderland of cheerful car loads.

Suppose your business had plans to be a part of the parade. In that case, DHDC hopes you will still be a part of the fun and looks forward to seeing your entry on Main Street, wishing the community a Merry Christmas.

"This is the best year to create this type of Christmas event," Bloom said. "The DHDC Physical Improvement Committee worked really hard this year to make Main Street the brightest it's ever been. The wreaths have new lights, the tree in UP Park has triple the bulbs on it, it's all just really beautiful and creates a wonderful ambiance."

Santa and Mrs. Clause are usually the grand finale of the parade each year and they will still have a large role in this year's event. 1012 Main Street will be temporarily turned into Santa's workshop. The transformation will begin on the 15th. Then on the evening of the 19th, kids will be able to see Santa working hard in his workshop and checking his list twice. They'll even be able to drop off their letters. DHDC asks that this Santa remain the only "live" Santa present at the event.

"We're trying to create as much Christmas magic as possible while keeping the community's health top of mind," Bloom said. "Everyone involved in this decision agreed we didn't want to cancel. The community needs Frostfest, but we need to keep people safe too.”

Characters such as a reindeer, a snowman, a Christmas tree, and more will also be making appearances on The Bricks. Watch for them to be strolling Main Street and waving to passing vehicles. Glow sticks and other treats will be distributed in front of the Chestnut Building, 1200 Main Street, by multiple businesses, including DHDC.

For a steady stream of Christmas tunes and warm greetings from Downtown Hays during your cruise, turn your radio dial to KAYS 94.3 FM or 1400 AM, courtesy of Eagle Radio.

The parade won't be the only event experiencing a change. The Annual Downtown Dollar Giveaway will be moving to a virtual format. Now through Dec. 19, customers can shop 15 Downtown businesses to earn tickets into a $2,000 and $1,000 Downtown Dollar drawing. The drawing was planned for 5 p.m. inside The Strand Event Center. Instead of creating a large gathering, the prizes will now be drawn virtually via a Facebook live on The Bricks in Downtown Hays Facebook page, same date and time. If you are a ticket holder, you're encouraged to watch the live on Dec. 19 at 5:00 p.m., but winners will have 48 hours to come forward with the winning ticket and claim their prize.

DHDC appreciates the community's understanding as we work hard to create safe events in Downtown Hays for all to enjoy. While these revised events are not ideal, DHDC is honored to be a part of the holiday fun and to play a small part in keeping traditions alive.