APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – This year the Appleton Parade Committee had to cancel the holiday parade because of COVID-19, but they still found a way to celebrate the holidays and bring a little magic to the neighborhoods of the city.

Dan Ling, an Appleton parent, said, “I just think it’s awesome that they’re doing it. Really making it safe by allowing people to stay in their neighborhood or even in their yard and be able to see Santa and really get that enjoyment out of the kids because you know it’s things like going to the mall Santa that we’re not going to be able to do this year.”

And kids in Appleton, like Grayson, were pleased with the event as well, “It’s really good cause we don’t have to go anywhere. He just comes around and we just say hi.”

Corey Otis is the Appleton Parade Chairperson and he said it was a difficult decision to cancel this year parade so they put together the Santa tracker nights to take the place of the loss of a cherished community event.

“So Santa’s actually going to travel around town and he’s got five different routes and he’ll visit a different part of town each night.”

The Santa float will run through a different route on the Santa tracker website each Tuesday night until Christmas.

City officials want people to avoid gathering in large groups when the float comes by and if it doesn’t come in front of your home there spaces in front of churches and schools for you to watch from the safety of your car.

Santa Claus says, “You’re going to see the City of Appleton coming together, the police department, the fire department, all the different departments, coming together to celebrate right here in our own community.”

Mrs. Claus continues saying, “I agree, yeah, we’re all going to be together for one purpose and that’s to be healthy to be safe and just to have a wonderful holiday.”

This pandemic has redefined what it means to be a family member, a community member and how we celebrate in difficult times and families across Appleton are rising to the occasion.

“We’re really focusing more on the the more immediate family in our household and just trying to find the joy, and do fun activities, spend a lot more time outside even in the cold and we’re having a lot more fun decorating and making it more of a family activity and than really like a chore,” said Dan Ling.

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