Written by MICHAEL LoCICERO
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 18:02
Organizers say lack of volunteers has made it impossible to continue event that welcomes holidays
Itâ€™s the end of an era in Belgium, at least temporarily.
Instead of its traditional Christmas parade on the Sunday following Thanksgiving, the Belgium Community Club will sponsor a house decorating contest and a childrenâ€™s Christmas party on Saturday, Dec. 7.
Community Club President Mike Bley said membership was down and it wouldnâ€™t be possible to run the parade this year.
â€śItâ€™s tough when you only have 10 or so people to work on it,â€ť Bley said. â€śThe general consensus in the town is that everyone will miss it.â€ť
Bley said he isnâ€™t sure whether another group would consider running the parade again next year.
Belgium Chamber of Commerce President Jay Lauer said it was â€śtoo badâ€ť that the parade wouldnâ€™t happen this year, saying the chamber wouldnâ€™t be able to run it at this time.
â€śThe Community Club has done a phenomenal job in the past with this,â€ť Lauer said. â€śWeâ€™re sad that they wonâ€™t be able to do it this year.â€ť
Lauer said the chamber is involved in too many other initiatives at this time to consider putting on the parade.
â€śWeâ€™re trying to put together an economic development plan for the village and that is taking a lot of time for us,â€ť Lauer said. â€śThe reason you have a chamber is to change the economics and the way you do that in a small town is by attracting employers.â€ť
Belgium Village President Rich Howells said it was â€śsad to hear the Community Club would not be putting on the Christmas parade this year.â€ť
â€śI have my fingers crossed that the Christmas parade will return next year bigger and better than before,â€ť he said.
The Christmas party will take place Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Belgium Fire Department, 195 Commerce St., from 1 to 4 p.m., with cookie decorating, crafts, letters to Santa and a visit with him, club member Sally Bley said.
â€śWe wanted to do something and weâ€™ve always been about doing stuff for kids,â€ť Mike Bley said.
The decorating contest will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. the same night, with cash prizes given to first, second and third place finishers.
Entry forms for the decorating contest can be picked up at Belgium Hardware, Port Washington State Bank and How Dea gas station.