Christmas Lights Parade returns to Tybee Island

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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – A holiday tradition made its bright return to Tybee Island on Friday night, after taking a year off due to COVID-19.

“As soon as we felt like it was safe to commit to a parade, we began planning this,” said Michelle Owens, director of communications and outreach for the city.

Months of planning went into Friday’s parade. More than 30 community organizations made a float in the parade, which spanned 10 blocks from Memorial Park down to the pier.

In a community with just 3,000 year-round residents, folks were ready to ring in the holiday cheer together once again.

“Being isolated was really hard on us because our community is so social and so connected that you know the parade sort of celebrates the opportunity to get back out and see our friends and family,” Owens said.

Owens said the city was expecting more than 700 people to come out. The holiday event also brought in tourists – one family driving three hours from outside Atlanta.

“The main thing that I’m excited about was to be able to come down here and see Christmas lights because we haven’t been able to go to parades and stuff for Christmas in a while,” Robert Bell said.

This year’s parade saw a greater police presence after a car drove into a Christmas parade in Wisconsin, leaving six people dead and dozens injured.

“When we heard what happened at the Christmas parade in Wisconsin, our police department said you know we’re gonna be heightened awareness, you know. We always have all of our police presence out that night.”

Owens hopes the parade’s return makes the holiday season feel more like normal again.

“We’re excited to be able to celebrate Christmas with our family, without masks and to come out here and enjoy it with everybody else,” Michael Bell said.

If you plan to visit Tybee Island over the holidays, you can get free parking through the Park TYB app until New Year’s Day.

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