STRASBURG — Inclement weather and canceled events are raining on more than Strasburg’s parade, which the town’s Chamber of Commerce announced was moved from today to Dec. 9.
Local business owners who made plans to have specials and sales revolving around the parade said they feel left out in the cold.
Tracy McMahon is the supervisor of the Strasburg Public Library, which is having a big sale this weekend.
“It’s frustrating to hear that this decision is being made so late in the game,” McMahon said about the parade and events cancellation. “We’ve already got everything set up. We are ready to go. We’ve got volunteers ready to work different shifts.”
The library has been planning this sale for months, advertising in the newspaper, town water bills and used book websites, McMahon said. Some dedicated book shoppers will still come out, but she was counting on the crowd the parade brings, she said.
“We always try to plan our used book sale with this Christmas festival,” she said, “because there are more people than usual in town.”
With so many irons in the fire already, McMahon said, it is too late to change the sale now.
The Strasburg chamber wasn’t excited to postpone the parade and other events, in part, chamber President Rich Orndorff Jr. said, because obtaining permits for parades can be a long process. There were also conflicting schedules to consider — Front Royal and Middletown are both holding their parades on Sunday when the weather is expected to be much nicer.
“When we started looking, we felt if we were going to reschedule rather than just cancel, we needed to do it early on,” Orndorff said. “We decided early in the week to do that.”
Dora Buck, co-owner and principal broker of Sager Real Estate, said she wasn’t sure why the town and chamber weren’t worried about Strasburg more than other towns.
“I know we’re at the mercy of the weather, but I believe we’ve all been talking in here it’s supposed to be in the 60s on Sunday,” Buck said. “As far as the other towns’ parades, that’s fine, I understand we don’t want to mess with them...but it’s us we’re worried about..I don’t want to worry about Front Royal or the other counties.”
Some plans are more flexible than others and with the chamber continuing to hold inside events on Saturday, some businesses are hopeful people will still come out.
Janet Heishman, the owner of Pot Town Organics, said she still plans on hosting vendors and providing hot cider and a place to get out of the rain. Her plans haven’t changed. She said she is just going to hope for the best and try to host everyone again on Dec. 9.
“People shop in here on Saturdays anyway,” she said, “so we are just going to go through with what we planned.”
Lydia’s Clothes Closet isn’t letting the bad weather ruin the holiday fun. Mrs. Claus is going to be at the consignment store helping the kids do their shopping, store mananger Kath Stanley said.
Mrs. Claus was supposed to come with the parade, but Stanley said the poor weather is going to keep more people away than the lack of a parade.
Bad weather slowed crowds last weekend on Small Business Saturday, too, Heishman said. She was expecting twice as many people then, but said she was still happy with the turnout and dedicated customers.
Heishman acknowledged how difficult it would be to get people to come out in the rain for the parade. Wet and cold kids, combined with wet and cold adults don’t make for a very jolly crowd, she said.
Orndorff said a number of events are going to continue despite the lack of a parade. The fire department will still hold its pancake breakfast; First Bank still has Santa stopping by and the Strasburg High School orchestra will attempt to put on their concert.
There are rumblings that snow might come next weekend, offering a parade with an extra dose of Christmas spirit. Orndorff said he hopes the parade will go on with a forecast of powder.
“Providing it’s not significant accumulation, provided it’s not unsafe,” he said, “that would be very festive. To have a Christmas parade with a little bit of snow.”