With rising numbers of coronavirus infections, the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s annual Christmas Parade.

Early each December, the parade has traditionally kicked off the holidays, lighting up the night skies along F Street.

This year would have marked the event's 20th anniversary.

In recent weeks, Tehachapi has seen a spike in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus, making it unsafe to move forward with the tradition. 

"After exploring several alternatives with respect to current state guidelines regarding large events and public gatherings during COVID-19, the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce has had to make the difficult decision to cancel the Tehachapi Christmas Parade," said Ida Perkins, president of the chamber.

Perkins went on to say that, should the number of confirmed cases continue to rise, she feared Kern County could transition back into the most restrictive purple tier.

Said Perkins, "I don't know how much longer people can survive this. We need to go by the rules. It's sad, and the last thing we wanted to do was take away another thing from the community, but our hands are tied. The health and safety of our community, staff and volunteers are our number one priority."

Perkins thanked the community for its support and understanding during these trying times.

"We look forward to the best Christmas Parade ever in 2021," Perkins said. "The Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and staff wishes you and your family a safe holiday season."

Immediately following the parade each year, the annual Christmas Tree Lighting event has been held at the Tehachapi Railroad Depot Museum. Parade-goers would gather at the Depot for the countdown to illuminating the town's beloved Christmas tree, courtesy of the city of Tehachapi.

This year however, the city plans to host a more informal, COVID-friendly tree lighting event at a later date.

Last week, the city began putting up Christmas decorations around town.

"We encourage people to do the same. We have a Christmas decorating contest going on right now, and we encourage everyone to participate and spread cheer," City Manager Greg Garrett said.

Garrett went on to say that he was extremely disappointed with the cancellation of the parade, "but we completely understand."

Each December, Tehachapi Railroad Depot Museum also hosted its Photos with Santa events in the past. Each weekend, parents were invited to bring their children to the museum to have their picture taken with Santa Claus.

As with the parade, this Tehachapi tradition has also been canceled this year.

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