For its 38th year, the Lakeland Christmas Parade will travel through Downtown Lakeland, with the theme “A Storybook Christmas.”
The parade will take place on Thursday. Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. It is sponsored by the City of Lakeland and the Junior League of Greater Lakeland to bring the community together for the holiday season.
Parade participants were asked to decorate floats inspired by their favorite childhood story, with an added Christmas twist. According to the city of Lakeland’s website, the goal of this theme is to inspire the imaginations of children and promote the joy of reading.
“Since 2001, I have either watched or been in the parade,” FSC Alumna and Lakeland native McKenzie Richardson said. “This year I will be working the event, so I will get to see a new side of it. Everyone knows someone at or in the parade, so I think it really brings Lakeland together for the holiday season.”
The floats will leave from the RP Funding Center and travel down Lemon Street, making its way through Downtown Lakeland.
There will be a fireworks display over Lake Mirror at 7 p.m. to kick off the night. The Grand Marshall, who officiates the parade, is traditionally an adult, but sticking to the theme, the committee decided it would be more appropriate to have a child fill the role.
“I love all of the creative floats as well as the dances and costumes all of the parade performers put on,” senior Sheena Satorre said.
“This parade brings the whole community together like it brings my cheer teammates and coaches together.”
With such a large crowd expected each year, many Lakelanders set up chairs along the parade route far before the day of the parade. A statement has been put out by the City of Lakeland stating that chairs may not be placed before Dec. 5, the day before the parade.
“I don’t think it’s fair, to be honest,” Satorre said. “I feel that whoever gets there first on the day of the parade should have dibs on the spot. I feel like the new rule won’t really change anything or make a difference. People will still fight for spots.”