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Downtown Turlock prepares for holiday events
Christmas parade gets green light from City
2019 Christmas parade
After being cancelled for the first time in 40 years last year due to COVID-19, the annual Downtown Turlock Christmas Parade will return on Dec. 3 (Journal file photo).

The streets of downtown Turlock will soon be busy with holiday fun as business owners and the community prepare for tricks, treats and plenty of Christmas cheer thanks to the return of several beloved events. 

A sense of normalcy will return to Main Street in the coming weeks as the Christmas Parade and Festival of Lights make triumphant returns after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic. This year, however, both celebrations will look a bit different than community members are used to. 

But before the Christmas season begins in Turlock, downtown will get an early start on its usual holiday happenings by inviting children to go from business to business in search of candy on Halloween weekend. Then, businesses will also welcome shoppers for a day of gift hunting during the annual Shop the Blocks event the first weekend in November. 

Turlock citizens have eagerly anticipated an announcement from the City of Turlock about the upcoming Christmas parade, which staff was unsure could take place given COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. Acting City Manager Dan Madden announced during Monday’s special City Council meeting that the parade would take place and that the City developed a plan to fit within those guidelines. 

“We are pleased that the parade can be held under current conditions, and we will rely on the cooperation of parade attendees to have an orderly event in these uncertain times,” Madden said in a statement. “The annual downtown Christmas parade is a cherished holiday tradition in our city that is beloved by many.”

Last year marked the first time in the parade’s 40-plus year history that the event had been cancelled, and now the 42nd annual downtown Turlock Christmas parade is set for Dec. 3. 

The City said in a press release that in order to address concerns related to COVID-19, separate viewing areas have been established for parade attendees. The event typically draws 20,000 people to Turlock’s Main Street, and this year they’ll be able to watch in four different sections: Main Street between Canal Drive and Palm Street, Main Street between Palm Street and the east side of the railroad tracks, Main Street between the west side of the railroad tracks and Olive Avenue at Broadway and Broadway between Olive Avenue and Canal Drive (Stanislaus County Fairgrounds).

Attendees will be encouraged to remain in their selected viewing areas and will not be allowed to gather or stop in the sections between each area. There will be portable restrooms in each viewing area, and no vendors will be at the parade nor will entries be allowed to distribute candy or any other items.

The City stated that the California Department of Public Health and Stanislaus County both recommend attendees be fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test if they attend the parade. Those who have COVID-related symptoms are asked to stay home.

“Because social distancing is not practical along a parade route, the City requests that persons concerned about these conditions not attend the parade,” the City said in the release. 

According to the City’s Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities department, entry registration for the parade will begin next week and interested community members are encouraged to follow the department on Facebook as information is released. 

Prior to the Christmas parade, the Festival of Lights will take place in Central Park on Nov. 26 and will feature a road closure from 1st Street to Golden State Boulevard. Many downtown businesses will be open for shopping that night, as they will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 7 for Shop the Blocks. The annual event kicks off the holiday shopping season by encouraging community members to shop local. 

And next weekend, over 40 businesses are coming together to host a downtown trick-or-treat event for children from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 30. 

The following businesses will be participating: Alegria Performing Arts Academy, La Mo, Digs, D2, Crivelli’s, Little Red Door, Charity Thrift Store, Crust and Crumb, Carr’s Cleaners, La Ti Da Salon, Downtown Mobile, Tribe Studios, Loza Wine and Crepes, B3 Boutique, Cycle Masters, Dare to Compare, Colossal Tattoo, Main Street Footers, Stephanie Baker Photography, Rustic Roots, Swoon Salon & Spa, The Mane Lounge, Envy, California Couture, Glow Skin Therapy, Be Cisneros, Bella Forte Boutique, Pressers Marketing, Lisa’s Cookie Jar, Cuts Steakhouse, Cafe Rome, Urban Market, Professional Touch Salon, First & Main, House of Random, Main Street Antiques, Main Street Tattoo, Glitz Boutique, Salon Within, Lightly Used Books, Barber Club and Savor Charcuterie.