Leaders in Wake Forest had said last week that the town's parade would go on and include the Sons & Daughters of the Confederacy despite a planned demonstration. That decision changed once police learned that the number of expected protesters had grown from 10 to 200 people, Police Chief Jeff Leonard said in a statement released Wednesday.
The entire parade has now been canceled for safety reasons. This would have been the 72nd year of the parade, news outlets reported.
“We aren't happy telling kids they can't attend or participate in this year's parade — but it's better than trying to explain to a parent whose child was injured despite so many warning signs," the chief said.
Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones released a video message saying she's “angry, disappointed and heartbroken” that the event has been canceled. She says it's not the most popular decision, but it's the safest decision.