Meridian Dairy Days organizers have announced the cancellation of the parade associated with the five-day event in June because a safe route away from road construction could not be easily arranged, said event spokesman Hans Bruijn.
"This will be the first time we've had to cancel it," he said. "Main Street was basically out of the question because of the construction and the liability of people crossing the construction site."
The construction is part of phase two of the Meridian Split Corridor Project, which is expanding Meridian Road to five lanes between Cherry Lane and the railroad tracks. Additionally, sidewalks will be expanded, intersections rebuilt and water and sewer services updated. It is slated to be completed by October.
Bruijn, who is chairman of the Meridian Dairy & Stock Show board, said the Dairy Days parade typical has 100 entries, and 15,000 to 20,000 people come out to watch it.
"Last year they handed out 15,000 bottles of milk and ran out," he said.
Dairy Days organizers had warned parade participants on their Web site that cancellation was a possibility, but they worked behind the scenes to see if they could find an alternate route. Bruijn said they didn't want to have the parade happen to far away from where the main events were happening Storey Park and Meridian Speedway.
"We really tried. Nobody wanted to cancel the parade. But if we move it clear out of town, it really doesn't make much sense," Bruijn said. "We'll be back next year."
This year, Dairy Days runs Tuesday, June 18, to Saturday, June 22. The parade is typically at 7 p.m. on Friday night. Bruijn said organizers plan to find another fun event for families to go to that night.
The Dairy Days Parade is a community tradition, said Mayor Tammy de Weerd in a press release Wednesday afternoon. Everyone is disappointed we wont have a parade this summer, including the City Council and I. We know how much this parade means to Meridian and we will do all we can to help the Dairy Board bring the parade back bigger and better than ever in 2014.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413