Traditionally, the first Saturday in December is the day of the downtown Holiday Parade, but 2020 is nothing if not untraditional, and there will be no Holiday Parade this year.

However, at the Balloon Regatta on Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday, Dec. 13, from noon to 4 p.m. each day, you can see the biggest crowd pleasers of the parade – the Macy’s Parade-style balloons. In fact, people will have the opportunity to see the balloons better than in the parade and as many times as they like because for the Balloon Regatta the balloons are stationary and the “crowd” is driving down the street – a reverse of the normal parade. And just like in a normal parade, there is more than just the 17 Macy’s Parade-style balloons.

The way the Balloon Regatta works is that vehicles will begin the route at the Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., across from the Greensboro Public Library and travel south on Church Street to the J. Douglas Galyon Depot on Washington Street. People are asked to remain in their vehicles during the Balloon Regatta and maintain a speed of no more than 10 mph. They are also asked to get in the holiday spirit by decorating their cars.

Unlike a normal parade, people are free to start the Balloon Regatta route at anytime between noon and 4 p.m. on both Saturday, Dec. 4 and Sunday, Dec. 5.

In addition to the 17 balloons, the Balloon Regatta Route will feature Greensboro Ballet Nutcracker performers, Community Theatre of Greensboro Wizard of Oz actors, Triad State A Christmas Carol actors, Disney princesses, and strolling carolers to name a few.

People will not be allowed to walk the route, but those who don’t have a vehicle, or who don’t want to be distracted by driving, can take a bus. The Greensboro Transit Agency (GTA) will be operating a special Balloon Regatta bus. Passengers can board the bus either at the J. Douglas Galyon Depot or at the bus stop on Church or Elm streets. The Balloon Regatta bus is free but masks and social distancing are required.