Exeter Lions Club cancels 2019 New Year’s celebration citing lack of participation and cost
EXETER – The Exeter Lions Club is cancelling their New Year’s Eve celebration for next week. Vice president of the club Patty Spott says due to the rising cost of fireworks and lack of participation in the parade, they have elected to suspend the festivities for at least this year.
“We will again revisit the event for next year and welcome [the community’s] input moving forward. Wishing you a very safe and happy New Year,” Spott noted.
The Lions Club New Year’s Eve celebration has spanned 17 years since the turn of the millennium. But, crowds downtown for the Doo-Dah Parade had been dwindling, as had the number of parade participants. It has been a common joke around town that the parade was so short the crowd would have to see it twice since it turned around the traffic circle and headed back up Pine Street to extend the time of the parade.
Spott said in previous years the parade was perfect for individuals and organizations who just want to have fun without the expense of building a float and without the hassle of getting a large group organized. Parade prizes were $300 for first place, $200 for second place and $100 for third place.
In light of the parade’s hiatus, Exeter’s celebration was the only family-friendly celebration in Tulare County. For the most part, parents had two options: sit around the house for six hours and wait for the year to turn over or head to downtown Exeter for an annual event that has something for every member of your family regardless of age.
In previous years, the Lions Club had a deejay, beer garden, bounce house, petting zoo and, of course, fireworks. The event became even more catered to families with young children when they decided to move the firework show to 9 p.m. to coincide with the Eastern Standard Time’s stroke of midnight, making it easier to put kids in bed earlier.
“This is a great event for the entire family and it’s a safe place to spend your New Year’s Eve,” said Tom Gray, Exeter Lions Club member in 2016. “And because it ends just after 9 p.m., you won’t be on the road late at night when things can be dangerous.”
The few hundred dollar prizes had gone to help fund organizations and, most importantly, school band programs in the past as they have been some of the most active participants in the Doo-Dah Parade since its inception.