Salisbury holiday tradition ends amid controversy

- The Holiday Caravan Parade will no longer be marching through Salisbury.

Organizers announced an end to the family friendly event this week. The mayor, however, is trying to save the holiday tradition.

"It's a huge tradition for us here," said Salisbury Mayor Al Heggins. "I think everyone was very surprised, but also very disappointed and very saddened."

The parade, which has been around for close to 60 years, faced controversy last year when Gay Rights Advocacy Group "PFLAG" members were told they weren't allowed to ride on an Avita Pharmacy sponsored float because of what they were wearing.

"We wore PFLAG shirts and had rainbow jewelry on," said PFLAG President Donna Odrosky in a December 2017 interview.  "And it wasn't acceptable."

FOX 46 made a call to the Holiday Caravan Parade Board Organizers and received a recording saying in part: "With saddened hearts, we announce we will no longer produce the Holiday Caravan Parade.  From the bottom of our hearts, we say thank you for making the parade a success for many years."

Avita Pharmacy took to its website saying it wants to make it clear the company never advocated for the cancellation of the parade, and went on to say the board made defamatory remarks in its letter.

Salisbury residents hope something can be done to save the beloved event.

“It would be nice for people to come together and try to find a way to make everybody happy,” said Salisbury Resident Ryke Willis.

Both the Salisbury Mayor and the Mayor of Spencer sent letters to the parade board hoping to start a conversation.

"This is something we want to see continue here in our city," said Heggins. "So our stance is, let's come together and see what we need to do."

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