Winter Festival hangs in the balance due to Saturday's rainy forecast

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 29, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Mother Nature might throw a wrench into the plans for the Winter Festival this weekend.

Several activities are scheduled for downtown Tallahassee this Saturday, including the Jingle Bell Run and the Winter Festival Parade.

This is the 32nd year of the Tallahassee Winter Festival. It has never been canceled. It's been rained on, but not rained out.

Folks are crossing their fingers that won't change after this weekend, although rain is in the forecast for Saturday.

"I would hope that they would not cancel it," said Tallahassee resident Elliott Sheppard.

He says he and his family usually attend Tallahassee's Winter Festival, and says he'd be disappointed if the festival is rained out.

"If safety and people being discomforted possibly with getting colds and stuff like that, I would understand it. But, we sure hope and pray that the weather holds up well," Sheppard said.

City officials are monitoring the weather to see if and how the Winter Festival could be impacted. In the meantime, it's business as usual in preparing and setting up for the big day.

Ashley Edwards, Tallahassee Parks & Recreation Director, said, "This is such a great event for the whole community. It is the highlight of the holiday season. It kicks off the holiday season, and it's just a great part of our community that we don't want to have to cancel."

Crews have been on site downtown working all week. Sheppard would hate for the hard work to be in vain for the sake of the workers and festival goers.

"You certainly have to appreciate the work that goes into putting this up. When it's fully done, I guess you kind of take it for granted. But, to be able to see them out here hammering and putting things in place, it kind of adds to the spirit of it," Sheppard said.

Edwards said, "They're going to keep going until they can't. We're going to hope for the best."

Edwards says the goal is to not cancel, but it's too close to call. She says depending on the rain situation, they may be have to cancel some parts of the festival and possibly save others.

If everything is rained out, Candy Cane Lane will open for the following week. It's a block-long walk through holiday magic, lights, figurines and action for the family. It will be open every night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

WCTV will keep the public posted on any changes for the festival.

Winter Festival

3 p.m. - 10 p.m. - Downtown Tallahassee
Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. - Judge's Platform, S. Monroe St. at Bloxham Park

Jingle Bell Run
6:15 p.m. (Immediately following Lighting Ceremony)
Location: Corner of Park Ave. at S. Monroe Street

Winter Festival Parade
Nighttime Holiday Parade
7:15 p.m.
Start: N. Monroe St. at Tennessee St.
End: S. Monroe St. at Madison St.

For the entire schedule, and the schedule for children's activities, entertainment, and other information on parking, etc. for the Winter Festival, click here.

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