Turn on the lights, light up the streets: downtown parade kicks off 2022 Christmas season on Sunday

Photo courtesy DFWII

The GM Financial Parade of Lights will light up the the streets of downtown Fort Worth Sunday evening as illuminated floats, festive performers and thousands of twinkling lights help usher in the magic of the Christmas season.

The 40th annual parade steps off at 6 p.m., led by grand marshal John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. A former Texas state senator, Railroad Commissioner and Comptroller, Sharp also served as a former second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves. He will ride on the Grand Marshal float throughout the 1.59-mile parade route.

Previous grand marshals have included Nobel Peace Prize nominee Opal Lee, former Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Billy Bob’s Texas owners Pam and Billy Minick and longtime Fort Worth Symphony conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

A perennial favorite, this year’s Parade of Lights theme is “Lights, Camera… Christmas!”

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Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to line the parade route to watch as abut 115 illuminated floats, marching bands and dazzling performers spread holiday cheer throughout downtown. Continuing tradition, this year’s parade will conclude with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus on their sparkling float.

The parade, the largest illuminated holiday parade in Texas, has been a holiday tradition since it was first presented in 1983 and drew a parade crowd of 25,000, according to Gloria Starling, chair of the festivals and events committee for Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives Inc., which coordinates of the event.

“Forty years later, the once small attraction has quadrupled in size to become Texas’ largest illuminated holiday parade,” Starling said. “Yet the mission remains the same. We are thrilled to transform downtown once again into a magical winter wonderland.”

The parade will begin with an opening ceremony at Weatherford and Throckmorton streets, where the route begins. The parade will proceed east along Weatherford Street and turn south on Commerce Street to Ninth Street, where it will proceed west to Houston Street, and then turn north to Second Street. From there, the parade will proceed west to Throckmorton Street, then turn south to conclude at Third and Throckmorton streets.

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Multiple streets will be closed beginning early Sunday morning and parade-goers are encouraged to arrive early. Pre-parade festivities include displays of holiday décor throughout downtown, the Christmas tree in Sundance Plaza, food trucks, musical entertainment as well as shopping and dining in downtown.

Due to street closures, parade-goers are also encouraged to use public transportation. Parking lots and garages will be open for those who choose to drive.

There will be no charge to attend the parade but reserved “street seats” are available with tickets starting at $18.

For those who prefer to watch the parade from the comfort of their own homes, a live television broadcast, hosted by Brooke Katz and Scott Padgett of CBS11, will air on KTXA-TV /TXA-21 and online at CBS11.com at 6 p.m.

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In addition, the parade will be broadcast live at 6 p.m. on Facebook Live via the GM Financial Fort Worth Parade of Lights Facebook page.

The parade will be re-broadcast on KTXA-TV/TXA-21 at 7 p.m. on Christmas Day.

For more information and updates, visit the Fort Worth Parade of Lights website.