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Holiday parade cancelled
Ice and sleet causing city to rethink holiday opeining
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One lonely shopper braving the ice to visit Great Bends downtown business district was indicative of why the City of Great Bend cancelled the Home for the Holidays Parade scheduled to happen Saturday evening. More ice and snow mix was predicted for later in the afternoon, and expected to continue on and off through Monday. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

While Santa and his reindeer would have no problem getting around Great Bend on Saturday, city officials opted to err on the side of caution in consideration of those navigating the streets without the help of magic this weekend.  Great Bend was included in a winter weather advisory issued by the National Weather Service, warning of increased ice accumulations and slick roads, as well as increased ice accumulations on trees and power lines.    
The conditions prompted City of Great Bend administrators to cancel the “Home for the Holidays Parade”, as well as other activities planned to take place at the Courthouse Square Saturday night,  marking the beginning of the holiday season.  
According to Christina Hayes, Great Bend Community Coordinator, it will be Monday or Tuesday before it is determined what activities will be rescheduled and when.  If the parade is rescheduled, it will likely be in two weeks, as the city needs to give permission to have Main Street blocked off, and because it is part of a state highway, the administration will need to check with the state.  
The annual lighting of the Mayor’s Tree will be rescheduled, and Santa will make his appearance at that time, Hayes said.  
The Downtown Cookie Contest sponsored by Rosewood Services is continuing through Monday, as business owners had already made several dozen cookies for the event designed to get people out and into the stores on Small Business Saturday.  A few diehards were out shopping, but road conditions were keeping many shoppers home as of noon on Saturday.
Merchants reported light traffic, ranging from a handful at some boutiques to a steady stream at The Buckle, as of noon on Saturday.   
The Explore Great Bend holiday cash giveaway will also be extended through Tuesday.  That’s when the boxes will be picked up, but the date winners will be announced, as with the cookie contest, is yet to be determined.  
Ice Skating was scheduled to open in the Courthouse Square Saturday night, but ironically, ice has caused that opening to be postponed also.  Hayes said the city had a strong goal of opening the skating rink by 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon, weather permitting.  
Santas Around the World remained closed Saturday also.  The display of 22 life-sized Santas can still be viewed during open hours Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. until Dec. 24.  
The National Weather Service called for continuing periods of wintry precipitation throughout the weekend and Monday, with sun returning on Tuesday, along with highs near 40.