BIG STONE GAP, Va. (WJHL) — The Town of Big Stone Gap has canceled its annual Veterans Day Parade, citing lack of participation as the main reason for the decision.
A letter signed by Town Manager Stephen Lawson and Mayor Gary Johnson that was posted to social media said town organizers only received a firm confirmation from three local entities to participate in the parade, none of which were veteran organizations.
Additionally, the letter states, “Another contributing factor to the cancellation was the change in timing of the football game to Saturday.” The letter said this change would have required “significant adjustments” in how intersections are managed and the parade’s timing.
Lawson said that given the lack of participation in the parade’s planning stages, the town decided it would be more fitting to honor veterans during halftime at Saturday’s football game.
To compensate for what Lawson said was a decline in interest surrounding the annual parade, the town is initiating a Veteran’s Memorial Park project that will feature chairs, a speaker and a tent shelter in the case of inclement weather, in hopes of having the space completed in time for Veteran’s Day next year.
The letter states, “After evaluating similar events in the surrounding communities, it is evident to us that a sit-down event would likely garner greater participation than a traditional parade.”
The town has contributed an initial $75,000 deposit for the project, according to the letter, and asks the community to help make the project a reality by donating what they can at Powell Valley National Bank. The letter said town leaders will seek the Town Council’s approval for the creation of a restricted account to hold the funds raised for the project until they can be put to use.
The full letter posted by the town regarding the Veteran’s Day Parade can be found on Big Stone Gap Town Hall’s Facebook page.