Bad weather led to the first-ever cancellation of the downtown Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade Dec. 1.
Obviously, everyone’s disappointed, from the parade organizers to the thousands of young children who were looking forward to their storybook characters coming to life.
The residents who put on the parade are all volunteers with no agenda other than carrying on a tradition that makes people happy.
There were practical reasons for the cancellation. The prep work and float exposure to the elements goes on for hours prior to the 50-minute parade. Today’s floats are simply too fragile to withstand a steady downpour. The technology isn’t compatible with wind and rain.
There are no longer rain dates because participation drops off by 40% to 60%, and retaining police, a public works crew and garbage detail for a second week is costly.
Los Altos has been beyond lucky – this is only the first cancellation in 42 years.
Blaming or shaming the volunteers for the cancellation, as some have done, is sad and insulting. They work for months in advance to get the costumes and floats parade-ready.
We should take every opportunity to thank organizers for their service and not take them for granted. Our holiday parade is the gift that keeps on giving.