The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author in his personal capacity and do not necessarily represent the opinions or the views of the City of Palm Coast or the Palm Coast City Council.
Editor's note: Palm Coast is shifting the Starlight Parade from Town Center to Belle Terre Parkway this year and will hold it in the morning rather than in the evening. The city's decision elicited concern from residents who criticized the change in comments on the Observer's Facebook post about the decision. For this week's edition of Ask the Mayor, we have asked Mayor David Alfin to respond to two of those comments. The parade will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. on Belle Terre Parkway in front of Belle Terre Elementary and Indian Trails Middle School.
Question from Annette Herlihy: That’s a major road that you will be shutting down, and no parking, and why still call it starlight when you are holding it in the daylight? Sad, we have Central Park and now not using it!
Question from Aimee Curbow: I cannot comprehend how relocating the parade to one of the busiest roads in Palm Coast, which means the road will need to be shut down for the duration of the parade, makes sense. The whole point of Town Center was for the city to come together and celebrate special events together without having to go elsewhere. If this is the case, why do we even have a Town Center?
Mayor David Alfin: As we approach the holiday season, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for the strong emotions tied to our beloved Starlight Parade — an annual celebration meant to unite our community.
Regrettably, we faced many scheduling conflicts this year, requiring a change from a nighttime parade to a daytime one. Please know that this change is a one-time occurrence, and we are committed to returning to our cherished evening parade in 2024.
I also want to address the change in parade location. After thorough collaboration with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, it became evident that the previous Town Center location posed safety concerns.
The decision to relocate to Belle Terre Parkway in front of Indian Trails Middle School and Belle Terre Elementary School, on the advice of the Sheriff's Office, ensures a safer and more enjoyable experience. The new route offers ample parking at each of the schools and addresses the public safety issue since there are alternate routes available for those not attending the parade.
In the spirit of community engagement, we've partnered with local schools for pre-parade activities, fostering a festive atmosphere and a sense of togetherness before the parade kicks off.
While change is never easy, I am confident that these adjustments will contribute to a safer and more enjoyable Starlight Parade experience for everyone. You’re understanding and support during this temporary modification are genuinely appreciated, ensuring the continued success of this cherished community tradition.