LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – The annual Lakeland Christmas Parade will take over the streets of downtown Lakeland on Thursday night. It is the 26th year for the event. This year’s theme is Miracle on Main Street.
For the people who watch the parade each year, seating is a big deal. Thousands of chairs line the street long before the parade begins. Comfy chairs, tiny chairs, and everything in between. People start setting up their chairs hours, and even days in advance. “It’s Thursday, we saw chairs going out on Monday,” Kevin Cook with the City of Lakeland said. “Tonight we will have about 40,000 to 50,000 people lined up around the parade route.”
Furr & Wegman Architects is along the parade route. The business put out signs days ago, warning people that any unauthorized chairs would be removed. “In the past years, it was absolutely an issue. Around a quarter of the spaces would already be gone. It was kind of a dilemma where were trying to have a business function and there were others intermingled even onto our private property,” owner Phil Wegman said.
This year, the signs worked. “We came out this morning, there was not one chair out,” Wegman said.
Lakeland Police Sergeant Gary Gross said officers keep an eye on the pathways to make sure they’re clear.
“We do have an officer today, and he was on duty yesterday, looking at chairs making sure the ramps are not blocked,” Sgt. Gross said.
But they still get plenty of compliants every year. “We check them every hour and they aren’t,” he said.
What You Need to Know
- Roads will close at 6PM.
- All metered, pay by space and permitted lots are FREE after 5 pm. This does not apply to privately owned parking lots and garages.
- Parade watchers will want to watch the parade on the same side of the route as they park. You cannot cross the parade route to get to your car. You will have to wait until the parade finishes coming up Orange Street.
- You can watch it LIVE on lgn.lakelandgov.net
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