Steel barriers to be used for parade

Republic file photo

The Grinch waves to onlookers during a past Festival of Lights Parade.

The city’s safeguards during the upcoming Festival of Lights holiday parade will include steel barriers intended to guard against vehicle accidents during the event.

The Columbus Board of Works has approved an agreement with Meridian Rapid Defense Group to try out nine of the company’s barriers for free during the Columbus Festival of Lights Parade, which begins at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2.

The company is headquartered in California and operates in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia as “perimeter security specialists.”

“In an attempt to work on having our events be more secure, we are working with Meridian Rapid Defense Group, DPW (Department of Public Works) and the police department on having barriers that are stronger than what we currently have for in case any vehicle was to try to impede into an event space,” said Jody Coffman, the city’s communication and events coordinator.

The city previously used Meridian’s barriers during Ethnic Expo, she said. They will have free access to nine barriers during the parade, as well as a trailer to carry the barriers to and from the event space.

“We’ve invited other entities in the area to come and look and see if we can jointly pitch in money to buy not just nine but 20 or 30 of them,” said Columbus Mayor-elect Mary Ferdon.

The model in question is Meridian’s Archer 1200 Mobile Barrier, Coffman said. The city is also interested in purchasing the trailer, Coffman said.

In addition to the parade, there are other events on Dec. 2 to begin the holiday season.

Columbus Parks and Recreation will have Pictures with Santa from noon to 2:30 p.m. at The Commons, while a non-profit showcase is also planned through 4 p.m. at The Commons.

The Tony Stewart Foundation will have “sleigh races” from 2 to 5 p.m. on Fourth Street, and Centra Credit Union on Fifth Street will host a Santa’s Candyland Parking Lot Party from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Columbus Parks and Recreation will have Reindeer Games from 4 to 6 p.m. in the 700 block of Washington Street.

There will be multiple refreshment stations with hot chocolate and treats prior to the parade at 6 p.m.

A fireworks show will be directly after the parade presented by RE/MAX Real Estate and Zaharakos.