MERIDIAN – Meridian Dairy Days kicked off Tuesday, but one longtime feature was missing -- the event's annual parade.
That factor has some businesses worried about a drop in customers.
At Pie Hole on Main Street in Meridian, workers are serving up pizza, one slice at a time. The restaurant just moved to its new location in March. General manager Keith Mott says businesses like his love big events like Dairy Days.
"It's a good community attraction,” said Mott. “A lot of people get out and about and enjoy the evenings and the afternoons. So yeah, Dairy Days is one thing that we always look forward to every year.”
Unlike years past, summer road construction has completely torn up Meridian Road, shutting it down to traffic. The move left festival organizers no options for running their usual parade route.
"Unfortunately, we had to cancel the parade which draws a lot of people to Meridian, but there's just no other way around it," said Dairy Board Presidnt Hans Bruijn. "So, we'll bring the parade back next year."
Despite the lack of a parade, the festival's other events at Meridian Speedway and Storey Park will go on as planned.
Dewey Alger and his family are looking forward to Dairy Days.
"I just like how it brings businesses and people together around Meridian," said Alger.
KTVB asked him his thoughts on the construction and whether it will turn people away.
"I don't know if they will avoid Dairy Days. I mean they might be disappointed that there's not a parade," said Alger.
Back at Pie Hole, Mott hopes people don't avoid downtown, even if he expects this year's crowd to be smaller than last year.
"With the Dairy Days not being down here, and the construction, all things kind of going at once, I think it will impact us a little bit, but you know we have a lot of faith in our local crowd, and I know our Pie Hole fans will come have pizza with us anyways," said Mott.
Meanwhile, there are probably a lot of kids who are getting ready to empty their piggy banks in anticipation of going on some amusement rides. The rides open up at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
For a full list of events click here.