- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - City officials have canceled a popular autumn parade in North Dakota’s capital because railroads no longer want to halt shipments along the route and there wasn’t enough time to reroute the procession.

City Administrator Bill Wocken said railroads are under pressure to move oil and grain shipments in the state without delay and railroad officials asked the city to find a different route for the Autumnfest Parade.

The annual parade, which features bands, beauty queens, clowns and colorful floats, begins at the Capitol building and runs through downtown Bismarck. It had been scheduled for Sept. 20.

Wocken said there isn’t enough time to organize a new route before then because there are many concerns to take into account, including street conditions, detours for emergency vehicles, staffing and safety hazards.

“It’s a little daunting,” Wocken told the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1owoc6J ). “I just can’t in good conscience let it go ahead.”

Parade organizer Scott Johnson said he hasn’t given up on finding a new route.

“We’ve been pretty bamboozled on parades this year,” Johnson said. The city’s Fourth of July parade was canceled due to rain and lightning.

Johnson said he hopes public reaction will spur a move to find a new route before the scheduled date of the parade.

“It’s sad that it had to be such short notice,” Johnson said. “It’s an opportunity for the kids who only get one or two parades a year.

Wocken plans to bring the discussion of a new parade route to the city commission in October, after his office has time to research all options.

“I’m very comfortable that we can resolve this,” he said.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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