RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond officials are heightening security for a popular parade after an incident at a parade in Wisconsin over the weekend left numerous spectators dead or seriously injured.
On Sunday, a 39-year-old man was fleeing a crime scene when he drove his SUV into a Christmas parade in a Milwaukee suburb. The incident killed five and injured 48 others, as of the latest reports.
If you are interested in helping the victims of the Christmas parade, click here.
Richmond Police discussed the incident in a briefing on Monday while discussing preparations and details for this weekend's parade which will honor the old Armstrong-Walker Classic.
Richmond's Police Chief said he is keeping security for the parade at the top of his mind following the incident in Wisconsin.
"As we begin this celebration, into the holiday season, we have to realize that, Richmond, we've done this many times before. We're a city of festivals, we're a city of increasing parades. So as far as RPD and safety is concerned, we believe that we have put a plan in place to respond to all known challenges as well as any unknown challenges that would come up," RPD Chief Gerald Smith said.
The big football game in Richmond's Black community drew tens of thousands of spectators as they met on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
The game lasted for decades until 1978 when schools were reorganized.
"This great reuniting of one of the unity events that took place in the city of Richmond for 40 years," Howard Hopkins, an alum of Armstrong and Walker High School, said. "This represents a lot for the community in more than one way."
Wearing the colors of both schools, as he worked at both as an educator, Hopkins recalled that the original event was a grand occasion.
"But more importantly that it was the unity that took place during and after the game," Hopkins said.
The new parade will stage off at 9th and Leigh Streets on Saturday. The parade itself will start at 10 a.m. from 4th Street and Leigh Street.
It will make its way through Jackson Ward and the Carver community along Leigh Street then up Lombardy Street to Virginia Union University's football stadium where there will be a tailgate and a pair of peewee football games.
Throughout the event, organizers say they will honor the spirit of the original event and pay tribute to those who took part.
"It was 40 years, one generation. We're going to create a new streak for another 40 years for a new generation of Richmonders," Mayor Levar Stoney said.
Organizers say they will have a lot of alumni on hand to help pass along the history of the classic.
Former governor and Richmond Mayor Doug Wilder was named honorary Grand Marshal, but will not be able to attend in person.
Street closure signs are already up along Leigh Street and say that closures will start at 6 a.m. on Saturday and will go until noon. There will also be some closures on the surrounding streets.
The following streets will be closed for the event:
- 8th St. @ Leigh St.
- 4th St. @ Leigh St. (westbound and eastbound lanes)
- 3rd St. @ Clay St. and 3rd & Jackson St. (no southbound traffic)
- 2nd St. @ Clay St.
- 1st St. @ Jackson St.
- Clay St. @ St. James
- Adams @ Clay St.
- Leigh @ Adams
- Jackson St. @ St. Peters
- Judan St. @ West Duval
- W. Clay St. @ Brook Rd.
- Belvidere @ Leigh St.
- I-95 exit ramp to Leigh St.
- Goshen St. @ W. Clay St.
- Hancock @ W. Catherine
- Harrison @ W. Catherine
- West Moore @ N. Harrison
- West Catherine @ Norton
- West Catherine @ Kinney St.
- West Catherine @ Bowe St.
- Lombardy @ W. Broad St.
- Lombardy @ Allen Ave.
- Lombardy @ Brook Rd.
- Admiral St. @ Brook Rd.