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Lakeland Christmas Parade Modified Parade Route Due To Construction - City News Blog

LAKELAND, FL (October 31, 2023) | The Lakeland Christmas Parade is a time-honored tradition, enjoyed by the community for generations. The parade will take place on Thursday, December 7, 2023, following a modified route due to construction impacting Orange Street.  Initially parade organizers included Lake Morton Drive as part of the route but that decision has been modified because of the expense and manpower needed to properly police the grass banks of Lake Morton.

Bob Donahay, Director of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts said, “After much consideration during our most recent event meeting, the group decided to not include Lake Morton Drive in the 2023 parade route.  We are going to follow the same route we did in 2006 when the parade was shortened because of downtown construction.  This decision is based on public safety and the expense it would take to properly manage the lakeshore but possible impacts to the swan population at Lake Morton was another huge factor.”

 Recognized as one of Lakeland’s largest annual events, the Lakeland Christmas Parade will start with dazzling fireworks over Lake Mirror at 7 p.m.  As the first firework is launched, the parade will officially begin. Leaving the RP Funding Center, the parade will travel down Lemon Street towards downtown, turning left on Tennessee Avenue, then right on Main Street.  At Massachusetts Avenue, the parade will turn right, heading south to Lake Morton Drive.  The parade will turn right at the lake, travelling to Walnut Street before heading up Tennessee Avenue.  At Orange Street, the parade will turn left and continue to the RP Funding Center, where the parade will conclude. Roads that are impacted by the parade route will close at 5 p.m. except for the portion of Lime Street between Florida Avenue and Lake Beulah Drive that will close at 3 p.m.

This year’s parade has over 120 entries that includes floats, marching bands, and decorated trailers.  The parade will end with everyone’s favorite, Mr. and Mrs. Claus atop their sleigh.  The theme for this year’s parade is Christmas in Candyland with each float incorporating the theme into their design. Each year, parade participants compete to win special recognition in eight categories:

  1. Most outstanding band
  2. Most original float
  3. Best professional float
  4. Best youth or educational float
  5. Best community float
  6. Best business float
  7. Best theme float
  8. Judge’s choice

The City asks that no chairs be placed on the parade route until the day of the parade.  Each year, many of those attending the parade start staking their claim earlier and earlier.  Fire Chief Doug Riley says, “We understand people want a good vantage point to watch the parade.  Unfortunately, we have chairs blocking sidewalks and crosswalks days before the parade.”  Police Chief Sammy Taylor adds, “This causes a major hazard, especially for those in our community that use wheelchairs and walkers to get around.”

 The City will remove/relocate chairs that are totally blocking sidewalks, in the way of crosswalks and hindering the use of disabled parking spaces.  “We understand the excitement surrounding this event, but we also want to keep in mind the safety of all our citizens.”  Riley and Taylor said, “Please, no chairs on the parade route before Thursday, December 7th.”  Chairs, tape, blankets, and other materials used to save viewing spaces will be removed if placed in public right-of-way before the day of the parade.”  Look for additional information on the Lakeland Christmas Parade and other Holiday Happenings after Halloween.



Kevin Cook
Director of Communications
City of Lakeland

About Lakeland

The City of Lakeland was incorporated in January 1885 and has grown to become one of the largest inland communities in Florida.  With a current population of over 100,000 Lakeland continues to grow. It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years.  With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor.  The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 115 years ago. 

For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please visit www.lakelandgov.net.  Citizens are also invited to follow the City on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Snapchat and Nextdoor.  Citizens can find the City of Lakeland on these social media platforms by searching lakelandgov. 



For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please explore LakelandGov.net.
Citizens are also invited to follow the City on social media.