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After a year hiatus, Manitowoc holiday parade returns with security measures

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 9:55 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2021 at 10:21 PM CST
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MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) - After a hiatus in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the city of Manitowoc held its annual holiday parade on Wednesday night.

It comes with a few changes, one a result of Sunday’s tragedy in Waukesha.

Yet on Wednesday, the focus for kids in attendance were the floats, music, and a chance to see Santa Claus.

“They were actually super excited. They couldn’t get their jackets on quick enough to come out to the parade,” Mindy Schindler of Manitowoc said who was there with three children. “It pretty much just lifts everybody spirits just being to come out to the parade again.”

Manitowoc kicked off its 33rd annual Lakeshore Holiday Parade with organizers pulling all the stops for attendees.

“I just like seeing everyone together. I enjoy people, going to be enjoying the holidays and we have nice weather,” Sandy Leschke said.

New this year, parade organizers set up a sensitive sensory zone for the first two blocks of the parade where sound was not played and lights were kept off.

“If they have [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder], or epilepsy, or autism, or any other kind of condition that would prevent them from enjoying the parade because of the loudness and things like that, they’re able to avoid that in this area,” Sandy Groll said. She’s the assistant to the mayor of Manitowoc and a parade organizer.

The incident in Waukesha that led to six deaths was on organizer’s minds as the Wednesday’s parade was nearing.

“One of the things that we learned from Waukesha right off the bat is that they didn’t necessarily have a reunification plan or a reunification area near the event,” Groll said.

The reunification area in Manitowoc was at city hall and Manitowoc Police said there were officers along the parade route protecting the public. Still, it’s difficult to plan for such a situation.

“That definitely weighs on our thoughts. Definitely thoughts and prayers to the victims out in Waukesha,” Manitowoc Patrol Captain Jeremy Kronforst said.

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