Williams Lake Dry Grad chairs Darlene Lainchbury and Lee Ann Lainchbury were all smiles Tuesday, June 2, after city council approved their proposal for a 2020 reverse graduation parade, taking place Saturday, June 20. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune) Williams Lake Dry Grad chairs Darlene Lainchbury and Lee Ann Lainchbury were all smiles Tuesday, June 2, after city council approved their proposal for a 2020 reverse graduation parade, taking place Saturday, June 20. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake 2020 grads to be celebrated with reverse parade

“This is our opportunity to turn no into yes”

The community is invited to celebrate and to show its support to this year’s high school graduates Saturday when the 2020 Dry Grad Reverse Parade takes centre stage.

The Williams Lake Dry Grad Committee explored several options in order to be able to host a parade amid the COVID-19 pandemic, eventually settling on a reverse parade with graduates stationed along the route.

“This is our opportunity to turn no into yes by doing something that has never been done before,” said Catherine Grondines of the Williams Lake Dry Grad committee.

The 2020 Dry Grad Reverse Parade will not be your typical parade, Grondines said, as graduates will be standing in place in a socially-distanced manner while spectators drive by.

“Residents in the area, if you would like to celebrate with our grads, please feel free to decorate your windows with stars to encourage them to ‘Reach for the Stars’ or other celebration decoration.”

Parents, meanwhile, are being asked to drop off their children in the exact location they are to stand, and pick them up in the same spot.

READ MORE: Graduates arrive in style

“We hope to have a fun, memorable celebration while keeping the grads and community safe,” she said. “The grads are in controllable numbers on the sidewalk in socially-distanced groups of less than 50. In order to abide by guidelines set out by Interior Health there can be no congregating before, during or after the reverse parade.”

During the parade, traffic is to move slowly and abide by traffic signs, Grondines said.

“Please do not give anything to the grads,” she said. “The grads and public cannot throw anything including confetti, candy or other objects.”

Pedestrian traffic will not be allowed to navigate the parade route.

Public wishing to view the grads must drive licensed, residential-appropriate motor vehicles, cars or pickup trucks. Passengers must be inside the vehicle properly seated.

“While you may decorate your vehicles to celebrate the grads, the focus is on the grads stationary on the sidewalks. This is not a normal parade,” she said.

The timeline for the parade is as follows:

• 5:30 p.m.: Volunteers will be in place

• 6 p.m.: Grads and parents go to designated check ins, parents drop off the grads and clear the area so other grads can get into position

• 6:30 p.m.: Drive through traffic to 7:45 p.m.

• 8 p.m.: Parents pick up grads and clear the area

“We cannot stress enough that social distancing must be respected,” Grondines said. “We are asking everyone to abide by the rules, as set out by the Interior Health authority.

“This is our opportunity for this year to keep the grads safe and to be socially responsible while having fun and still honour these graduates of 2020’s accomplishments.”

The 2020 Dry Grade Reverse Parade route is as follows:

Access the route via Highway 97 and Toop Road. The parade will run along 11th Avenue to Blair Street, turn left on Blair Street and travel to Western Avenue, then left on Western Avenue to Smedley Street.

Once on Smedley street the parade will turn left again back onto 11th Avenue.

There will be RCMP, traffic controllers and volunteers in the area, along with directional signs helping direct traffic.

Grads must sign up by contacting Darlene at by phone at 250-398-7248 or by e-mail at terry_head@telus.net.

They will then be notified by e-mail the location where they are to report to line up.

Williams Lake

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