What happened to the parade? That’s what people are asking after Virginia Beach’s “Light Up the Town” event

Posted at 7:03 PM, Nov 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-23 19:03:46-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - Town Center was packed with people Saturday night.  Some had waited outside with young kids for an hour hoping to get a good view of the annual holiday parade during the "Light Up the Town" event.

But this year, people weren't too happy with what they saw.

"Everybody was stunned," said Thomas Pote, "It was very disappointing and very frustrating."

Pote attended the event with his 6-year-old son.  He says the parade was over in less than 15 minutes, with only 10 - 15 participants and large gaps in between them.

He wasn't the only one who was upset.

A number of other people voiced their complaints on Facebook.  One woman wrote, "It could not have been a more disappointing event if the Grinch himself tried." Another said, "people were booing after the parade it was so bad."

Pote says he applauds the one band that performed and the others who participated, but says overall it just wasn't like it's been in years past.

So what happened this year?

According to Mike Hilton with Beach Street USA, they decided to have a different type of event this year, which did not include a parade.

Instead, they decided to have just a short procession before the lighting ceremony along with live entertainment.

Hilton says the reason for that is because of space constraints.  He says there's just not a lot of room where groups can line up for a parade and people can watch.

Hilton says they now realize they should have done a better job explaining to people that this year's event would be different.  He says they are also disappointed that people are upset and they will have to go back to the drawing board now for next year's event.