WHEELING, W. Va. (WTRF): The Main Street Bank Fantasy In Lights Parade will not take its traditional route through downtown Wheeling this year.

The route will be seven-tenths of a mile, the same length as last year.

But the parade chairman says they have to take a different direction on Nov. 17 when the bands, dancers, floats, and Santa himself take to the streets.

As the streetscape construction hits high gear, downtown Wheeling is no place to hold a parade this year.

“The construction downtown is right in the middle of where the parade route would be,” explained Bill Bryson, event chairman. “Even where last year’s reduced route turned at 12th Street, it would not work. Construction is right there. We’re not going to be able to use the downtown streets.”

Parade units this year will gather and stage in Center Wheeling as always, but instead of going north, they’ll go south.

“In conjunction with the Wheeling Police Department, they’ve come up with a pretty good route,” Bryson said.

The parade will turn north on Main Street in the area of The Teacher’s Store.

In that area, Main Street is more parade-friendly.

“We’ve got a really nice long straight stretch and relatively smooth pavement,” Bryson said.

The parade will go up to 20th Street where it will turn right and finish at 20th and Market.

He emphasizes that anyone who would like to enter a group in the parade still has plenty of time.

And if decorating a float seems like too much to tackle, Bryson has a suggestion.

“A lot of people think it’s too hard to build a float,” he said. “They don’t have to. There’s a company we use out of New Philadelphia, and the float comes delivered. It’s pretty much what you want. All we do is pull it around the parade route and you’ve got a first class float with your name on it, and everybody’s happy.”

7News will have coverage as always.

We’ll see you at the parade.

You can get an application to participate in the parade by calling the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce at (304) 233-2575.