WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WTVD) -- Just two days after town officials in Wake Forest announced the cancellation of the Christmas Parade, there is a grassroots-effort to assist businesses missing out on the expected crowds.
"I was really saddened that we would have to cancel a long-standing tradition here in Wake Forest," explained Wesley Spottiswood, who works in the town.
Town officials cited safety concerns, and the Wake Forest Department feared agitators would "show up, wreak havoc, then leave" over the presence of pro-Confederate groups in the parade.
Understanding the parade's impact, Spottiswood and a group of friends decided to gather at the Christmas tree to sing songs, before walking through downtown to check out local businesses. Spottiswood posted about his plans on Facebook, where it quickly gained traction, with many others pledging to join in.
"It's just an awesome time to come together as a community and enjoy and just sing songs and be able to support Wake Forest," Spottiswood said.
Spottiswood applied and received a permit from the town of Wake Forest to hold the event. The town also agreed to provide Wake Forest police officers to assist with security, though Spottiswood anticipates a controversy-free gathering.
He expects hundreds of people to attend and is hopeful their presence will help businesses.
"All these businesses are your local neighbors. They really need your help and they count on this event each year to provide a Christmas for their own family," said Spottiswood.
People will meet at the Christmas Tree in Wake Forest at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14th, which is when the parade would have taken place.
Grassroots efforts in place to assist businesses impacted by Wake Forest Christmas parade cancellation