Kiddies hoping to catch a glimpse of old St. Nick during his scheduled appearance Saturday during the Christmas parade in downtown Baton Rouge are going to be disappointed.
Due to the heavy rainfall and thunderstorms predicted for much of the day, the city of Baton Rouge late Thursday told the organizers of the Cortana Kiwanis Christmas Parade that they had to call the event off. It marks only the second time the annual parade was called off in the last 20 years, organizers said.
"It felt like the air just came out of me when the city-parish made the call, but I know it was the best decision," said Heather Folks, parade chairwoman for the Cortana Kiwanis. "The Kiwanis is all about the kids. We have the parade to put smiles on their faces and to bring the Christmas season to the city."
The Denham Springs Kiwanis Club also canceled its 5th annual Christmas parade which was set to roll on Saturday.
It appears both parades will not be rescheduled this year.
"While club members considered a move to a different date, the unavailability of suitable staging areas for floats, bands and other parade attractions as well as other events prevented such a move," the Denham Springs Kiwanis Club posted to its Facebook page late Thursday.
Folks said the Cortana Kiwanis weren't able to pull together the security they would need to hold the parade on a different day this month.
"We have about 5,000 people participate and approximately 100,000 spectators come every year," she said. "Having enough security is huge with our parade."
Organizers of the South Baton Rouge Christmas Parade announced Friday they had postponed their parade until Dec. 15 due to weather concerns. The South Baton Rouge Christmas Parade will roll at 1 p.m. next Saturday, according to a news release.
The National Weather Service has predicted a 100 percent chance of precipitation on Saturday, with rainfall amounts between 2 and 3 inches. Thunderstorms are also possible, the weather service said.
The only other time within the past two decades that the Cortana Kiwanis canceled its parade was in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.
Organizers weren't sure why the parade was canceled that year, but said it probably had to do with the Raising Cane's River Center being turned into a shelter for displaced residents. Many downtown streets were shut down at the time.
Folks was disappointed because of the effort that went into bringing people together for this year's parade.
"We had right around 65 entries this year and it was our most diversified group that we've ever had," Folks said.