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We don’t know if there will be snow, but the Charleston Christmas Parade promises the return of you-know-who.

Following a deluge of complaints, Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin has reversed a decision made public on Tuesday to change the name of the annual Charleston Christmas Parade to the Charleston Winter Parade.

“After much consideration and conversation with religious leaders from all faiths and community leaders, we have decided to keep the name ‘Charleston Christmas Parade,’” Goodwin said in a statement released Thursday.

“We understand the history and tradition of the parade and we want to continue that for years to come,” Goodwin said.

On Tuesday, the mayor’s office issued a news release announcing a date change for the annual event, to be held on a Thursday evening (Dec. 12, 7 p.m) this year instead of the traditional Saturday morning, in response to requests by downtown business and restaurant operators. That release referred to the event as the Charleston Winter Parade.

A number of people upset with the apparent name change looked into the rules regarding parade floats, and found language prohibiting floats from “advocating, opposing or depicting any political, religious figures or social issues.” Although the prohibition on displays depicting religious figures was among rules promulgated 15 years ago by the parade’s sponsor, Charleston Town Center, Goodwin was identified as its source on numerous social media posts.

On Wednesday, Goodwin posted a video on Charleston’s Facebook page in which she said changing the name of the parade from “Christmas” to “Winter” was to show that “the City of Charleston is an inclusive community. We want everyone to participate in this parade.”

On Thursday, after the post had been up for 15 hours, it had drawn 31,000 views and 1,500 comments, many of them voicing opposition to the name change.

Among those taking to social media to respond to the name change was state Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, who blamed “radical liberals in Charleston” for seeking to “eliminate Christ from Christmas.”

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey tweeted that the name change “is political correctness run amok.”

“If you are more upset by a perceived ‘War on Christmas’ than you are by the real war being waged against the Kurds, the people who’ve been fighting ISIS for us for years, they you might want to go back to Sunday school,” Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, countered in a tweet posted Thursday.

Also on Thursday, Charleston Town Center edited its float contest rules to eliminate “religious figures” from the list of prohibited float depictions.

Despite the 15-year-old rule, “floats in the parade have always been inclusive of all symbols of the season,” said Charleston Town Center Marketing Director Lisa McCracken. “Every year there have been Nativity scenes, Wise Men, shepherds with children dressed in sheep costumes and church groups in the parade,” in addition to snowmen and reindeer, she said.

After receiving numerous public complaints, concerns and suggestions regarding the float contest rules, mall officials reviewed them, and came to “recognize that the wording is no longer accurate,” McCracken said.

“We did not mean or intend any disrespect to any person, group or religion and we did not mean to exclude anyone from the parade,” Goodwin said in her statement. “Actually, it is the exact opposite: We want to include everyone.”

Goodwin said in her statement that she appreciated all the public feedback received regarding the Christmas Parade.

“It is truly amazing when citizens get involved in the process,” she said. “I have said from the beginning we welcome input from everyone. These citizen interactions are the cornerstone to any good government and will remain front and center in this administration.”

Goodwin announced that prior to the 7 p.m. parade on Dec. 12, a series of events celebrating “a variety of cultures, religions and organizations” will take place in downtown Charleston, starting at 5 p.m.

Reach Rick Steelhammer at

rsteelhammer@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5169 or follow

@rsteelhammer on Twitter.

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