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Little Rock's Big Jingle Jubilee parade reimagined as street festival

The parade used to take over downtown Little Rock's streets, but this year is different. It's no longer a parade, but a festival.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It was was an odd holiday season for Diana Long in 2020.

"We're just happy to be here, we're happy to have everybody here that we can have here today, right?" she said. "Last year was nothing because it was 2020. Up until last year, for almost fifty years, we had held the Big Jingle Jubilee holiday parade."

The parade used to take over downtown Little Rock's streets, but this year is different. It's no longer a parade, but a festival.

"I mean, it's still the holiday season, and just because we're not doing a parade doesn't mean we can't do something that helps to get people in the holiday spirit," Long said.

But it still means they're back, and for the businesses who normally wouldn't get to be a part of this, this is a chance to jump on.

Tinessa Bryant owns Bryant's BBQ. 2020 was tough for them as food trucks weren't in high demand.

"We've been doing this 15 years," she said. "So for us, we come out here with the attitude that we're gonna serve whether we have one person or whether we have 300 people."

Business boomed for the Saturday! Hundreds came out for this first outing.

It's what made today exciting for everyone involved – it's a chance to get out and see new people.

"I've been able to visit with the other vendors, I've been able to visit with my customers, so it's a good day," Bryant said. "I'd call it a good day, any day above ground is a good day!"

So while this may not be a parade, Long said she hopes it's a good replacement – and that they're just happy to be back.

"That was our goal, and so we hope that as people continue to trickle in later this afternoon, as we get closer to the Capitol lighting that they enjoy their afternoon," she said. "Just appreciate that there's event that they can go to cause we were all stuck inside by ourselves last year, and that was no fun!"