In honor of TCU’s 150th anniversary and the Horned Frogs’ historic march to last season’s College Football Playoff, Coach Sonny Dykes will reign as Grand Marshal of the 2023 GM Financial Parade of Lights.
The 41st annual event will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, in downtown Fort Worth and a sold-out crowd is expected. This year’s theme is “Holiday Magic.”
The Parade of Lights was first staged by Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives Inc. in 1983 with 25 floats and drew a crowd of about 25,000. It now draws spectators numbering in the tens of thousands, organizers say, and has grown to become one of Fort Worth’s most cherished holiday traditions. It is Texas’ largest illuminated holiday parade with more than 100 professionally designed floats as well as marching bands, antique cars, equestrian units, horse-drawn carriages and carolers spreading Christmas cheer along the 1.59 mile parade route.
And, of course, the parade concludes with Santa and Mrs. Claus appearing on the specially designed, LED-lit, grand finale float.
“The Parade of Lights is such a great tradition and important part of Fort Worth. It is a true honor to be Grand Marshal and represent TCU,” Dykes said. “My family and I are most appreciative of this opportunity.”
“TCU is proud to sponsor the Grand Marshal float in recognition of the community and people that have supported TCU’s mission for 150 years,” said TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. “Coach Dykes is a great representation of the Horned Frog spirit and we are proud he will lead the beloved Parade of Lights.”
In his first season leading TCU, Dykes guided the Horned Frogs to their best season in program history. They finished 13-2 and defeated Michigan in the CFP semifinals before falling to Georgia in the national championship game as the Bulldogs won their second straight national title.
TCU is the first Texas team to qualify for the College Football Playoff and the first school in the Big 12 Conference to reach the CFP title game.
Fort Worth-based GM Financial has renewed its commitment to the parade for the sixth year in a row and will continue its title sponsorship through 2027.
“GM Financial’s culture is based on strengthening the communities where we live and work, which aligns with the Parade of Lights’ mission to bring people together in the spirit of community,” said Dan Berce, President and CEO of GM Financial. “As the largest employer in downtown Fort Worth, we are pleased to help preserve the special tradition of the Parade of Lights in the city we’ve been proud to call home for more than 30 years.”
There are many opportunities to participate in and attend the Parade of Lights, organizers said, including:
- Reserve “Street Seats”: While the parade is free and open-to-the-public, attendees can get the most illuminating experience by purchasing reserved tickets, or “Street Seats,” in advance. Tickets start at $15 for children and $17.50 for adults, and are available for purchase now. Visit the website to view all reserved seating options and discounted packaged ticket prices.
- Enter a Float: Applications are open until Friday, September 29, for those interested in entering a float in the 2023 parade. Entry forms and rates can be found online.
- Volunteer: Hundreds of volunteers are what make the parade a success year-after-year and opportunities are available in hospitality, merchandise sales, stand and seating assistance, staging areas, entry check-in, and more. Volunteers can sign up online.
- Become a Sponsor: As a 501c (3) nonprofit organization, Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives, Inc. seeks the support of corporate sponsors and partners to help maintain the free and high-quality production of the parade for the Fort Worth community. Sponsorship opportunities, levels, and benefits can be found online.