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

LAKELAND, FL (September 28, 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 new route due to construction impacting Orange Street. 

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 left, travelling around Lake Morton 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 will include 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.  As this year’s parade route does include Lake Morton, please do not feed the swans during the parade.  Umbrellas or pop-up tents are not allowed along the grass around Lake Morton. There will be NO street parking along Lake Morton Drive the day of the parade.  Once, the parade passes, clean-up crews will immediately focus on the area around Lake Morton and then concentrate efforts on the rest of the parade route.

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.