A small room inside a downtown hotel Friday serves as the nerve center for the largest parade in Dallas since COVID-19 started.
This is just year two for the Dallas Dia de los Muertos Parade - and two years in the making.
Festival organizer Mauricio Navarro handles planning for the Dallas St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival too. He’s watched COVID-19 wipeout three events since March 2020.
“There’s still this haze over our country, so I’m really not sure,” Navarro said.
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Saturday he expects at least 60,000 in Dallas to come together for a cultural event focused on remembering loved ones.
“I think there’s that drive now that people want to get out,” Navarro said. “I mean, the vaccination rates are going pretty well, so I foresee that we’re going to have a great event.”
Steve Love with the DFW Hospital Council says he’s encouraged by the latest COVID numbers.
Trauma Service Area E, which covers North Texas, currently has approximately 1000 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 compared to 3500 five weeks ago during the peak of the Delta variant.
He says higher vaccination rates combined with the virus cycling through more people has led to the decline.
“We want to get this virus out of the Metroplex as quickly as we can,” Love said.
But as Halloween unofficially kicks off the holiday season, Love says he doesn’t want to see another unexpected wave of illness as more of us gather with family and friends.
“If we kind of let our guard down and ‘say well COVID is decreasing, I no longer need to wear a mask’ all of a sudden we could have a pretty severe flu season,” Love said.
Navarro hopes the weather and breeze will help turnout on Saturday as Dallas welcomes the return of the parade.
“We’re going to try and keep it as safe as possible. We know we’re living through a pandemic,” Navarro said.
The festival begins at 2 p.m. on the plaza of Dallas City Hall and runs until 10 p.m. The parade begins at 6 p.m.