By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
An unspecified miscommunication between police and event organizers Saturday led to the premature start of the Christmas parade by about 20 minutes.
“It was just a miscommunication, it was a total miscommunication,” said Robyne Beaubien, executive director of Clovis MainStreet and event organizer.
“I’m sure it surprised a lot of people and it was very unfortunate and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure it never happens again.”
The start of the parade at 5:40 p.m. as opposed to 6 p.m. resulted in a postponement of the tree lighting ceremony in front of the courthouse and at least one float being excluded, Beaubien said.
The tree lighting, which had been set for 5:45 p.m. to kick off the parade, was pushed back until after the procession passed the courthouse.
“When we noticed the parade was almost on us at 5:40 p.m., we decided to wait until the parade had passed down through there,” she said.
“At the point we realized the parade was on us, it seemed like the best thing to do. We were as surprised as everyone.”
Police Chief Steve Sanders said his officers provide security along the route and lead the start of the procession.
“It was just a communication error. That’s all I’m going to comment so that we don’t start pointing fingers at each other,” Sanders said.
“My staff and the parade organizers talked this afternoon to make sure that we don’t have the same problem twice.”
Beaubien said aside from the early start, the parade was a rousing success with a good number of entries and a decent sized crowd that rivaled last year’s success.
“It was scheduled for 6 p.m. and we’ve started it on time every year for the last three years. It was still a wonderful parade and we had wonderful time,” she said.
“Sometimes… some things happen and you just learn from them.”
Beaubien said Clovis MainStreet has organized the Christmas lights parade on Main Street for about four of its dozen years in the community.