Everyone in Norristown who I talked to over the weekend was disappointed in not getting to see a parade. All understood the need to not have it in the rain on Friday, but everyone wanted to know why it wasn't rescheduled for Saturday or Sunday, as parades and other festivities in other communities had been.
I'm wondering that myself. The weather forecast couldn't have been more clear, so to speak, for the last week. Saturday and Sunday were both going to be beautiful--sunny and not especially hot. Perfect for a parade. Plenty of advance notice. Possibly a few of the groups slated to be in the parade would have had to cancel, but I'm guessing a lot of them wouldn't have.
Let's go a step further and say, why not have a simple contingency plan for EVERY July Fourth parade? Why not simply say, in case of rain, the parade will be held the following Saturday? That way every group signing up to be in the parade, as well as the police and fire departments, know the game plan months ahead of time.
The thing is, planning isn't our strong suit here in N-town. Either we plan events too late or, even if we set a date months ahead, we don't finalize the times or schedule of events until it's too late to get the word out properly (for instance, we rarely see an agenda ahead of time for Council meetings anymore). Or we have everything set, but do no publicity--as in last week's Town Hall with the Police Chief. Last Monday, people were asking if the meeting was for real, because they'd heard nothing about it until that morning.
And yet, one group had their act together this weekend. The annual Independence Eve Concert at Christ UCC Church wasn't outside this year, but they still had a good turnout inside. Every year they have it the same night--July 3--and say "in case of rain, the concert will be indoors," and every year they get a decent audience.
Of course, you can't hold a parade indoors, but as I said, you can set a raindate. If you're planning a festival, you can say "rain or shine" as long as you have enough tents or shelters handy, or better yet, an alternative venue. The Collingswood Book Festival, if it rains, takes place in their high school gym. Maybe THAT would be a good reuse for one of the old factory buildings we have in town--a Civic Center for festivals and trade shows.
We've had several events cancelled in the last year because of rain or snow. Could those events have been planned so that they could have been moved inside or been held the next day or the next weekend? I can think of at least two of them that could have gone on, if only the planners had thought to add a contingency plan. Make it part of the planning process--put it right on the event flyer so people know what to do when bad weather hits.
The parade is too important to simply cancel.