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Del Ray Halloween Parade Canceled

Organizers said concern for safety and welfare of neighbors and participants in the face of Hurricane Sandy prompted the cancellation. However, some related events are still being held.

The Del Ray Halloween Parade is canceled for the first time in its storied history.

The Del Ray Business Association announced the cancellation Friday morning after consulting with city officials about the looming Hurricane Sandy and the effects it could have on the area. The governor declared Virginia in a state of emergency on Friday morning in preparation for the Frankenstorm.

“After consultation with city officials and reviewing the potential for rain during parade times and strong winds and with our primary concern being for the safety and welfare of our neighbors and participants, the decision to cancel was reached,” said a statement from parade Co-chairs Gayle Reuter and Carol Bailey.

The parade was scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

However, all is not lost. Several other related events are still happening:

  • Distribution of Halloween costumes to those children who otherwise would go without still will take place Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave.
  • Judging and awarding of prizes for the Best Decorated Home will take place. Look for announcements of the winners on the Visit Del Ray Facebook site, on listservs, on Del Ray Patch and in newspapers.
  • Judging and Awarding of the Best Decorated Business will still take place and be awarded at the November Del Ray Business Association membership meeting.
  • Parade organizers ask you to share photos of what would have been your entries in the Best Decorated Stroller or Best Pet Costume. Please share or post the on the Facebook site Visit Del Ray.

Please mark your calendar’s for next year’s parade: Oct. 27, 2013.

McBrinn October 26, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Is that a "no" on meeting for a discussion?
Gayle R. October 26, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Jeff - thank you for your comments and you are correct. There were lots of serious issues to be considered before a decision was made to cancel including the reason you gave. For the volunteers that have spent 100's of hours the last couple of months to put this parade on and for the businesses that funded this event at a cost of almost $10,000 with expenses and in kind donations, believe me, no one is more disappointed then we are. McBrinn, I know you often have opinions on why things are done the way they are, you are always welcome to volunteer & devote the time and work to try to make this community a great place to live and find out why things are done the way they are. And Jeff, I know exactly where I will be for my birthday margarita - thank you!
McBrinn October 26, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I thought so.
McBrinn October 26, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Umm, I did volunteer.
McBrinn October 26, 2012 at 10:25 PM
The self loathing just oozes out of your keyboard.
Katherine_M October 26, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Why is the parade canceled when the storm isn't going to arrive until 36 hours later?
Gayle R. October 26, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Afraid I don't think we've met but please introduce yourself next time you are volunteering.
Gayle R. October 26, 2012 at 11:37 PM
At the time that we needed to make a decision, the rain was supposed to be starting on Saturday night and continue through Sunday with added wind gusts. Unfortunately, we have no control over the weather, especially a storm this complicated. No one is more disappointed then me, believe me.
Mike Urena October 27, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Hey Mighty McBrinn. I'd be happy to meet with you - you know where I live. You know from that time you stalked my address. So come on by. Anytime. Really. And btw, who's watching your four kids while your off in yet another exciting locale. Tough being a single parent but am sure one of those police officers you have in the family is helping out. Oh, and sorry they canceled your parade but there's always the Alexandria Turkey Trot.
Del Ray 23 October 27, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Gayle, Thanks for all you do and have done for this. The Halloween parade is not free. We made a decision based on information we had at the time. McBrinn if you are in Houston how could you be a volunteer? Are you ever happy?
Katherine_M October 27, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Thats a strange comment Del Rey 23. Plenty of us in the DC area travel frequently! I was in NOLA yesterday and will (hopefully!) be in Chicago on Wednesday.
Del Ray 23 October 27, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Judy somebody had to make a decision. it was not an easy decision but had to be made.
Del Ray Resident October 27, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Gayle, thanks for the thoughful explanation of this difficult decision. Of course, you can't see into the future so you have to make the best call with the info you have,
McBrinn October 27, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Look who arrived! Little Mikey Uranus! Drunk again Mikey? Is it... sake this time or white burgundy?
Del Ray 23 October 27, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Its Del Ray but not a strange comment at all. McBrinn said" doesn't matter to me anyway I'm in Houston til Wed" But then went on to said he volunteered. Seems to me he just likes to complain.
McBrinn October 27, 2012 at 01:57 AM
McBrinn here Del RAY. Are you claiming that everyone who volunteered for the now foolishly canceled parade is currently located within the 22301 zip code? Want to place a large bet on that?
Justin Keating October 27, 2012 at 02:34 AM
I agree 100%. We should be thanking the volunteers, organizers, and contributors for putting this on every year, instead of second guessing their really tough decision to cancel it this weekend.
Paula Hoelzel October 27, 2012 at 12:16 PM
I'm not sure why anyone would allow these postings, they should be deleted. It's about a children's Halloween Parade, wouldn't have been better to just find a place on the avenue to host a Halloween Party inside? That way the children could have shown up in their costumes if the weather permitted. Drew, you should delete these comments, I know I am not interested in them and I doubt anyone else is, maybe they could exchange email adresses and keep it between themselves.
Bob Rouse October 27, 2012 at 01:28 PM
I would venture that the kids in their costumes are more mature than a few of the commenters on this post. Stay Klassy...
amy lu October 27, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Del Ray 23 - reread what Gayle wrote about the "hundreds of hours it take" in preparation for an event. And I'll add - especially one that closes down a main thoroughfare. It is totally possible to have volunteered and to not be recognized by the organizers. Ever shown up for one of those 'goodie bag filling' sessions? I'll also add here that the Del Ray Citizens Association budget, approved by the members in September, contributes $500 for this event - may not be much but for an unrecognized, non-profit organization contribution, its nothing to sneeze on. In the parlance of WETA, 'The Del Ray Business Assoc. Annual Halloween Parade was brought to you with the support of: Jen Walker, Bobi Bomar, and Paul Haire, The City of Alexandria, The Del Ray Citizens Assoc., and contributors like you. Thank you.'
Edmund Lewis October 27, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Much agreed with the last two posts. Taking the comments off the air.
Joseph M. October 27, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Paula, "Last year, more than 5,000 people participated in the parade, nearly half of them children. More than 50 pets marched in Halloween costumes and about 25 families decorated strollers for the competition." (Source: DRBA website) It's too large to host inside.
Joseph M. October 27, 2012 at 05:39 PM
To clarify for everyone, McBrinn, what have you already done as a volunteer or what were you planning to do as a volunteer while in Houston during the scheduled parade? I'll go first. I didn't volunteer. I was looking forward to marching with children. And I think it's possible it was the wrong decision, but I recognize I don't have all of the information, such as whether the police had a hand in the cancellation so they could concentrate on whatever preparations may be necessary for the storm, or to what degree the decision was based on the best available forecast at the time and when certain cutoff times were set before nonrefundable deposits had to be paid to the City, vendors, etc. So I think being on the outside, and knowing the financial and time investments the sponsors and volunteers have already put in, it's best to err on the side of trusting their judgement.
McBrinn October 27, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Joseph_M, Who are you to ask anyone any direct questions about their specific contributions when you don't even use your full name?! Talk about hypocrisy!
Sarah haut October 28, 2012 at 03:10 PM
DRCA also contributed $500 to the parade. I'm surprised DRCA is not recognized for its contribution.
Carrie October 28, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Paula, I'm not sure why you think that folks are not interested in this discussion just because you are not (plus you did read and post on them too). Most of the folks posting have been positive and appropriate about a disappointing situation, but I am still curious to know what factors went into the decision. We've been looking forward to the event for a year and have family in town for the marathon whose children came with costumes and were also excited. I'm not saying the ultimate decision was the wrong one, but am interested in the factors that were considered. Perhaps looking at the factors will help organizers make future calls or planning. For example, is having a pre-arranged alternate date even feasible? Could there be a reduced event inside or would the business sponsors not be in favor of that (since presumably it would not give the added street presence)? What is our contract with the city like for these events and when do we need to make the call in order to not be charged the full fare? It is about the kids, but as a disappointed parent, I can still care about the decision-making process.
Nancy Drane October 28, 2012 at 05:25 PM
These criticisms are really uncalled for. We are all disappointed - most especially the organizers, I'm sure. None of us can predict the weather exactly and they made the best decision with what information they had. Imagine if they decided to have it and the forecast for today got worse - not better. These people volunteer countless hours to make del ray the special place it is, and we all benefit from it. I am thankful for all they do... Nancy (East Nelson Avenue)
Del Ray Snob October 29, 2012 at 03:32 AM
I'm reposting from just a minute ago from another section of The Patch: There are several clusters of large metal barriers, (the kind they use to block of side streets during Art on the Avenue) all up and down Mt. Vernon Avenue tonight. I imagine they were staged there in anticipation of blocking off the side streets for the Halloween Parade that was cancelled. They are not tied down to anything. If the wind does gust up to 60+ MPH tomorrow and those are not removed in time, I can imagine those things are going to do serious damage to most of the windows and vehicles on Mt. Vernon Ave. I phoned the police Non-Emergency number tonight and was told that the Watch Commander would be told. However, I'm unsure of who's problem this is. Does anyone know who put those barriers there? If so, they are going to be an EXTREME hazard to life and property if not tied down or removed. They sit in clusters of five at several locations up and down the avenue. Thanks.
Gayle R. October 29, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Please note that all the metal barriers/bike racks have just been picked up by the Sheriff's Department. Special thanks to Dana Lawhorne who immediately dispatched his staff to get them after we contacted him. Hopefully we can all keep our First Responders and City Staff in our thoughts and prayers as they currently and will continue to be out there during this Hurricane.
Don Posson October 30, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I think the OVERLY disappointed parents are the real spoiled kids in this situation. I look forward to thia parade every year myself but as a responsible adult I realize we put responsible adults in charge of these things to make a very hard call to protect the health and welfare of our children. I salute the decision of those folks who put in so many hours on this, I look forward to next years parade and wish the rest of the negative folks will jump in next year of their couches and actually take on a significant roll to help make this event even better next year!

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