Our opinion: Let’s keep the parade

A $600 police overtime bill is not a good reason to cancel Warren’s Christmas Parade.

We were frankly surprised and disappointed that Warren Main Street decided to cancel this year’s Christmas Parade, citing the city’s fee for police overtime as a significant reason to cancel a procession that has entertained hundreds of children and adults for at least 40 years.

Recently in this space we pointed out the Warren Community’s willingness to step up in times of need, when those needs are reasonable and made public.

If, in the span of a couple weeks, the community ponied up more than $2,000 to replace flags at Heritage Point; if, in the span of a few hours, a local family went from needing almost all of $2,200 to provide a prescribed piece of medical equipment for their seven-month-old to having more than the full amount provided by the generosity of people in the community; it seems to us that $600 is doable.

Has there been an appeal to the public for help? If there has been, it’s been under the radar.

Until the announcement by Dan Ristau, the president of Warren Main Street, that the downtown Christmas Walk would not kick off with a parade bringing Santa Claus into town, there hadn’t been a peep about the need for money.

However, we suspect the money is the excuse for a decision by Warren Main Street to eschew tradition and restructure an event that has been popular and well-attended for decades. We would submit that it was the parade that brought people out on a cold night; the living windows, street vendors and food gave them something for which to stay a while longer. The parade doesn’t preclude the events that Mr. Ristau envisions.

At this point, we would ask Mr. Ristau to go back to his board – whoever they are, since the president has declined to reveal the names of members after several inquiries by this newspaper – and seek a reconsideration of the decision, make a public appeal for financial support, and don’t try to fix something that’s not broken.