The annual light parade has been a tradition to the city of Jacksonville for the last two decades.
But this 26 year tradition with a $125 thousand dollar price tag has been cut from this year’s budget, eliminating the possibility of the light parade. But local organizations and businesses are pushing to continuing on the tradition.
Publisher of the Daily Record Jim Bailey tells WOKV it’s a parade that attracts around 100 to 150 thousand people to downtown each year.
“Obviously the citizens of Jacksonville think it’s important. So they have been stepping up and making suggestions and ideas and actually just trying to figure out how everybody can participate,” says Bailey.
Allowing local businesses to help the city fund the event in what’s called a public private partnership, where the locals can help out with donations, but still make the city in charge of the parade. Bailey says they would need to raise about $45 thousand dollars from private sectors.
Bailey says organizations such as The Jacksonville Marina Association and other groups of businesses have expressed interest in helping fund the event.
“The Jacksonville Marina Association stepped up on day one. They have the connections with the boater. They can get the boaters out. We have to have boaters to have a light parade,” says Bailey.
Organizers are scheduled to meet Tuesday at the Mayor’s Office to brainstorm their next steps.