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2020 Holiday Stroll canceled

The fight to hold the annual Holiday Stroll was lost on Tuesday, as the Saturday event was canceled following added restrictions placed on public gatherings due to the increasing rate of COVID-19 cases.

On Monday evening, Gov. Kim Reynolds restricted outdoor public gatherings to 30 people or less.

Alushia Fitzgerald, chair of the Holiday Stroll Committee, said cancelling the event was a foregone conclusion after the announcement.

“First and foremost, I was disappointed because of everything we did after last week’s announcement, and now we are faced with further restrictions. It was just not feasible to go through more modifications in the same week of the event,” she said. “Even though we were hoping to make it happen, it is just not something we can do. But like anything this year, this is more news we have to accept and make the best of it.”

Since the cancellation was announced on Tuesday, Fitzgerald said there have been a few reactions from Marshalltown residents – mainly that they are sad.

“They were looking forward to it, but the general concensus is that they know we are trying to follow the rules and keep everyone safe,” she said.

Even though the Holiday Stroll will not occur, Fitzgerald said plenty of downtown Marshalltown businesses will have holiday decorations up. There will also be plenty of lights for people to drive around and see.

“There will still be Christmas cheer for people downtown,” she said.

Just the Tree Festival, Christmas Craft Village, Santa’s Workshop and the music will no longer be available.

Deb Millizer, executive director for the Marshalltown Central Business District, said she was also really sad to cancel the beloved community event.

“I know everyone in the community has COVID fatigue,” she said. “We have been through a lot and were looking forward to something positive.”

Millizer said since Iowa has gotten to the point of full hospitals, it makes sense to cancel the Holiday Stroll.

“Our volunteers went really hard on this, planning started in July,” she said. “It hurts my heart to cancel but we have to keep the community safe. We are going to oblige by what the governor says.”

There is hope to have a bigger and better Holiday Stroll in 2021. Fitzgerald and Millizer would like to see the return of everything associated with the event – Santa’s Workshop, the lights, the carriage rides, the Christmas Craft Village and the ice skating rink.

“I would love to bring it all back. We’re going to need it,” Millizer said.

Contact Lana Bradstream at lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.

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