The coronavirus pandemic has caused the cancellation of several events, including the 2020 Parker Tube Float. It has also caused other events or activities to be altered. Instead of a traditional graduation ceremony, Parker High School held a parade for the Class of 2020. The new school year will start with distance learning at least until Aug. 17.
One event that is still being planned and in the works is Red Ribbon Week. This annual week-long celebration that encourages young people to stay away from drugs and gang violence is usually held late in October. The event is sponsored by the Parker Area Alliance for Community Empowerment.
PAACE Spokesperson Courtney Kom said they are still planning to hold the event, and they are still hoping to hold the kick-off planning meeting in August.
“We are moving forward as usual in hopes that we will be able to hold all of our events,” Kom said in an e-mail to the Pioneer. “Our Red Ribbon Week Planning Meeting usually happens towards the end of August, so we are still in our planning mode.”
Red Ribbon Week usually starts with a parade in Bouse on Saturday. There are events planned throughout the week, including classroom, business and door decorating contests. There are also prizes and give-aways for young people from local businesses. The week ends with Family Fun Day at Pop Harvey Park. This event features give-aways and free activities for young people.
The event also includes a theme that is featured on t-shirts and posters. Last year’s theme was “Make Drugs a Thing of the Past” and featured a dinosaur logo similar to that of “Jurassic Park.” Zombies were a theme some years ago, as were the minions from the “Despicable Me” movies.
PAACE Director Randy Hartless said he can think of no local event that draws so many people as Family Fun Day except for the Downtown Experience, the street fair held before the Parker 425 off-road races. While the Downtown Experience has a lot of outside visitors, Hartless said Family Fun Day is all locals.
Red Ribbon Week was created in honor of US Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was tortured and murdered in 1985 in Mexico, allegedly by members of a drug cartel.
Today, Red Ribbon Week is a national event that encourages young people to lead drug, gang and violence-free lives. PAACE has been sponsoring Red Ribbon Week in Parker for more than 20 years.