WAUKESHA — The 2022 Waukesha Christmas Parade has been rescheduled until Dec. 4, organizers announced Wednesday.
The parade originally scheduled for Nov. 20 will now take place after Thanksgiving, on Dec. 4.
Organizers cited safety concerns for the change, saying a new date opens opportunities for additional safety resources.
Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said staffing has always been an issue due to deer hunting season and the holiday. He adds several people from public works to police and fire were out of town when tragedy struck last year.
"We did find that during the parade tragedy we had a number of people that were out of town who had to come back," Reilly said.
The changes come as Waukesha still tries to move past last year's parade attack that killed six people and injured dozens of others.
To enhance safety, the city purchased Modular Vehicle Barriers which are designed to help protect crowds from traffic.
"We do need more public works people to set them up and take them down," Reilly stated. "We didn't want to be stretched thin in any regards."
Beyond the new technology, city officials also changed the parade route, making it a closed perimeter-based route. New technology is available, and additional training is being done to ensure safety.
"For nearly 60 years the parade commenced the Sunday before Thanksgiving. However, this year we must consider lessons learned as we move forward from last year’s tragic event," a news release from the Waukesha Chamber of Commerce states.
The news release states, "by adjusting the Christmas Parade date, more resources are available for staffing in cases of unplanned emergencies which includes Police and Fire Department resources, hospital staff, and many others."
The theme for this year's event is peace on earth. It comes as Waukesha continues to heal from last year's parade attack that killed six people and left dozens injured.
People in the community and performers from the parade may still be recovering in a variety of ways following the tragic events of the 2021 Christmas Parade.
Reilly said he understands the changes may not work for everyone, but he believes this new Dec. 4 date is here to stay.
"New traditions are also good and I think we're going to have a great Christmas parade," Reilly said.
Additionally, the City of Waukesha Chamber of Commerce and TMJ4 News have partnered together and will broadcast this year’s Christmas Parade.
Hopefully, this year's parade, and the TMJ4 broadcast, can help heal some of the wounds left from last year's tragedy.