CORAL SPRINGS, FL – Coral Springs apologized Thursday to thousands of people attending the Holiday Drive-Thru Experience on Wednesday evening when a larger-than-expected turnout created long wait times and forced officials to turn away cars.
“While we had a traffic plan in place, we never expected a turn out as large as what we experienced,” the city said in a statement on social media. “We apologize for anyone who did not enjoy the experience and for the length of time you spent waiting to enjoy the event.”
The event ended at 9 p.m. and due to the volume of cars, the city made the decision to stop the car line at 8 p.m. in order to finish at 9 p.m., Coral Springs Vice Mayor Joshua Simmons said on his social media.
“This was done to make sure all of the people who had been setting up and planning the event early in the day had an opportunity to make it home at a reasonable hour,” Simmons wrote in his post.
The traditional Coral Springs holiday parade on Sample Road had to be “re-imagined” this year because of the coronavirus, officials said. In its place, the city held a drive-thru event on Sportsplex Drive where families could see decorated, stationary floats created by residents, businesses, and city departments.
According to the statement, more than 8,000 participants, mostly children, did get to experience the Holiday Drive-Thru event.
Still, the city said: “While that does not help the families who were turned away due to volume, we want you to understand it was never our intent to disappoint you or your families. For anyone who was unable to experience the event, we are truly sorry.”
Officials said in the statement that they sent out messages on preparing for the event weeks and days leading up to the event. But, despite having a traffic plan, the volume of cars exceeded “our expectations.”
After the event, many residents requested that the city hold an additional Holiday Drive-Thru event, the statement said.
“Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate that request. This event took several months of planning and organizing. It included city staff, volunteers, sponsors and other participants donating their time to make the holidays a little brighter – albeit differently,” the statement said.
Next year, the statement said, the hope is for the return of the traditional parade “with dozens of floats, marching bands, and thousands of spectators and where the only waiting is for Santa to make his way down Sample Road to close out the parade.”
Simmons added that many cities canceled their big holiday events, but Coral Springs decided to press on.
Coral Springs “tried its best to put together a holiday celebration that the good people of this city could enjoy,” he wrote.
Coral Springs has other upcoming holiday season events. See our story on what’s coming up.
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