Santa, Treece (KOPN photo)A festive beginning for a Columbia tradition

COLUMBIA, Mo 12/17/18 (PSA) -- Columbia Mayor Brian Treece joined Saint Nick himself for a big announcement last week:  KOPN radio is taking over the holiday parade that almost wasn't.

After 38 years, the Columbia Jaycees -- which shuttered in 2017 -- ended the downtown parade, usually held the weekend following Thanksgiving.  Despite a long search for a successor organizer, as of last month, none was  found.

"There were no organizations that were able to take on the parade," Rachel Scheffer, the former parade organizer, emailed the Columbia Missourian. "As far as we know, there will not be a holiday parade this year."
Returning the Sunday before Thanksgiving 2019, the revamped parade will preserve, create, and build community and FUN!" KOPN board member Erica Dickson explained. 
Drawing on its own 45-year tradition, the community radio station will hold several planning and feedback meetings "to generate creative new ideas and continue to innovate on what has long been a beloved community event.

"One thing we know for sure is that we want to continue to build on the parade’s multicultural foundation," KOPN general manager Sean Spence said. "The parade has done a great job of showcasing a variety of holiday traditions, and we plan to increase that pretty dramatically."
The 2019 parade will follow the same route as before, starting at the corner of College Avenue and Broadway; turning west on Broadway; south on 5th Street; and stopping at 5th and Locust Streets. 
Sponsorship and parade entry registrations will begin in 2019.
KOPN is a Columbia community radio station featuring news, talk, and music operated primarily by volunteers and funded primarily by listeners.
"When we say, 'It’s not just radio, it’s community radio,' we mean just that," Dickson said.