This year the participants are along the streets and the spectators are driving through the parade.By Nicole Ford

AMBRIDGE, Pa. (KDKA) – Christmas events are being canceled left and right, but one community wanted to find a way to keep its tradition alive while staying safe during the pandemic.

“We are working to grow Ambridge and I think there will be more and more working together as time goes on,” Ann Sutherland said.

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Sutherland owns Rivertown Antiques on Merchant Street, a place full of small businesses that are making it work during the pandemic.

“Months of discovery, not knowing how business was going to go. The shutdown for six to eight weeks, we did the best we can and because we sell products that can be sold online, I went online and to the curb,” Sutherland said.

She told KDKA support is helping each business to survive.

“I’ll send them up to restaurants or ask ‘did you come in hungry?'” Sutherland said.

One of the big events to draw people downtown this time of year is Christmas on Merchant.

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“In Beaver County, we just had a rise in COVID cases so we were really concerned — how we were going to social distance a parade?” said Kim Villella, who’s the President of Ambridge’s Chamber of Commerce.

A parade that brings hundreds to the local shops will still go on, but this year the roles are reversed.

“So we put all the parade participants along the street and the spectators will now drive through 10 blocks of Ambridge,” Villella said.

It’s an opportunity to still showcase businesses while bringing the community together for a night of holiday fun.

“Children have been out of school for the last three weeks. COVID has affected our families here, even their emotional and physical well-being, so just to be able to come and enjoy the sights,” Villella said.

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The parade started at the high school and ended at the police department with Santa Claus on the fire truck.