Parade of Lights brings early Christmas cheer

By Kristen Weaver and Kyla Wilcher

Fort Worth’s Parade of Lights brought Christmas spirit to the local community before the Thanksgiving turkey was carved.
The 32nd annual Fort Worth Parade of Lights made its way through the streets of downtown Sunday night as families brought young children and dogs to watch the floats.
Teresa Fowler, a Fort Worth resident, brought her 5-month-old son to the parade to share her favorite time of year with him.
“The kids love being out here, so I wanted to bring the baby here for his first Christmas,” Fowler said.
Before the parade began, people gathered in Sundance Square, the location of the city’s 59-foot tall Christmas tree. Stilt walkers dressed as nutcrackers walked around the square, and families lined up to take pictures with Santa Claus.
This year, 111 floats participated in the festivities, including entries from the TCU Frog Horn, Texas Gypsy Horse Club, Fort Worth Scottish Pipes and Drums and the Cowtown Opry.
Keonna Roberts is an alumna of Eastern Hills high school, and participated in the parade 20 years ago as part of her school’s drill team. Roberts returns each year to watch the Eastern Hills drill team, and says that this year seemed more crowded than in the past.
“There were definitely more crowds,” Hills said. “My husband tried to buy tickets, but they were sold out.”
Roberts said not much has changed in the past several years of the parade, but that she was excited to see floats represent different cultures.
“The Sikh Riders of North Texas were really cool,” she said. “With all that’s happening in the world and in Paris and everything, it was great to see people from all cultures trying to get in the holiday spirit.”
The parade has taken place the day after Thanksgiving for years, but this year was moved to the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Parade goers had mixed feelings about the date change.
The parade does not bring as much excitement for the Christmas holidays as it did years past, said Mary Katherine Robinette, a student at the University of Texas at Arlington.
“It is what it is,” Robinette said. “It has a different feeling.”
Roberts had a different perspective.
“I think the change is good,” Roberts said. “Everyone is on break, people aren’t as tired as they are after Thanksgiving.”
The parade ended with the annual Christmas tree lighting in Sundance Square.