CARY — The parade segment of this years Cary Band Day has been canceled due to safety concerns, according to the events coordinators.
Organizers worry that construction work on and alongside Walnut Street will disrupt the parade, which runs for about 1.3 miles from downtown Cary to Cary High School.
Town and state officials expect the work will be finished ahead of the parade, but parade organizers made the cancellation call because they hadnt heard sure-enough confirmation of the construction schedule.
Cary Band Days marching band competition, scheduled for Nov. 2, will continue as usual. But the loss of this years parade will disrupt a long-held tradition. The parade has kicked off Cary Band Day since 1958, sending a dozen or so marching bands through central Cary each year, except for a recent rain-out.
Just this month, the Cary High School Band Boosters said that the parade would happen, ending months of speculation. Last week, the organizers reversed course.
In an email on Aug. 22, the bands director, the longtime organizer of Cary Band Day and the booster club president announced the cancellation of this years parade. They were concerned that ongoing roadwork on Walnut Street, the parades main leg, would endanger marchers and watchers.
The N.C. Department of Transportation is paving part of the road while the town of Cary is replacing a utility line and sidewalks. The town work is expected to wrap up at the end of September, while the paving could finish this week.
Still, parade organizers said they hadnt received confident assurances from town staff that the work would be done in time, and the time had come to make a decision.
Its not worth taking a chance on a participant or a spectator tripping or falling, said Sandi Williams, who has chaired Cary Band Day for 25 years. She said the cancellation wasnt connected to previous proposals to nix the parade.
Terry Doc Thorne, a parade organizer, and Bob Murray, the president of the boosters, had talked early this year about ending the tradition, citing declining interest among bands and spectators. Thorne circulated a plan to come back every five years with a reinvigorated parade.
But that wont be the case, according to Williams. The boosters want the parade back next year and annually thereafter, she said.
We want to come back with an exciting parade for the town of Cary, and to bring the parade back as part of the downtown restoration, she said.
Kenney: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @KenneyOnCary