First staged in 1983, Fort Worth’s signature parade has grown to become Texas' largest illuminated holiday procession, with nearly 100 professionally-designed-and-produced floats (each with more than 12,000 lights), brilliant antique cars, lively marching bands, precision equestrian units, decorated horse-drawn carriages and casts of strolling carolers prancing through the 1.5-mile parade route. Santa and Mrs. Claus will again be making their appearance on the specially designed, LED-lit, grand finale float, sponsored by parade producers, Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives, Inc.
This year’s parade has already received a generous outpouring of support from across the Fort Worth community, with participants ranging from Mayor Betsy Price and other city leaders, corporate sponsors such as Chesapeake Energy, CHASE, XTO Energy, and Coors Distributing Company, nonprofit organizations such as the Cowboy Santas Program, Inc. and the Fort Worth Bicycling Association, and novelty entries such as the DFW Unicycle Club’s UniPsychos and the world-famous Wheelie-ing Elvis, all donning lights and the season’s regalia to celebrate this year’s theme of “Our Christmas Traditions!"
New / Updated for 2013:
• The parade’s incredibly popular reserved seating program, “Street Seats,” is back for 2013, and seats are currently for sale online at www.FortWorthParadeOfLights.org. Parade producers are encouraging all who want reserved Street Seats to “act fast,” as they have sold out several weeks’ prior to the event in previous years. Brand-new for 2013 are “Gold Seats,” which include complimentary, non-alcoholic beverages, padded chairs and private portable restroom facilities. Prices for Street Seats remain the same as previous years, starting at $9.50.
• Activities officially kick off at 2 p.m. with the Holiday Fun Zone presented by XTO Energy in General Worth Square, where attendees can enjoy entertainment, children’s holiday craft making, food and beverages from Downtown restaurants, lighted parade merchandise, and more. The “Cowboys Santas” volunteers will again be accepting donations for underprivileged children in the Holiday Fun Zone, as well as in the food and beverage areas.
• Returning for its second year is the Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa “Night of Lights Fitness Walk,” a 1.58-mile walk around the parade route in front of thousands of spectators prior to the beginning of the parade (appx 5:40 p.m.). Registration includes a lighted baton, as well as reserved seats at the walk’s conclusion.
• Attendees may ride The T’s free “Parade of Lights Shuttle” to-and-from Farrington Field and the parade, beginning at 2 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m.
• A free showing of the box office holiday hit, “Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” starring Jim Carrey, will take place in General Worth Square post-parade (appx. 8 p.m.).