Everybody loves a parade — especially in Frankfort at Christmas time.
There’s nothing quite like being bundled up in furry hoods and fluffy mittens with hundreds of your capital city neighbors, the beat of the marching band’s percussion pulsing through your chest.
Children scamper for candy being tossed from the dozens of colorful floats that light up the dark, frigid night.
This year’s Frankfort Christmas Parade is slated for 7 p.m. Dec. 7.
“It’s more than a parade — it’s a symbol of hope and an opportunity for the community to gather and celebrate,” said Kristin Cantrell, owner and chief executive officer of CapCity Communications, whose company took over as organizer of the Frankfort Christmas Parade last year.
After 68 years of coordinating the annual event, the Frankfort Jaycees disbanded last year leaving the fate of the parade up in the air, before Cantrell and company stepped in to save it.
“It’s a big undertaking with a lot of moving parts,” Cantrell explained, adding that with additional time to plan the event this year, they are expecting more than 100 entrants.
This year’s theme, “Songs of Christmas,” offers participants the opportunity to make holiday music come alive.
Community groups including businesses, charities, churches, schools, neighborhoods, first responders, marching bands and civic organizations vie for $1,750 in prize money — $1,000 for first; $500 for runner-up; and $250 for third. Non-profit entrants keep the prize money and for-profits designate which charity to donate the money to.
Last year, Western Hills High School FFA took the crown, with Cinderella’s Closet snatching second and Lyons Lumber, which donated its winnings to The Salvation Army, placing third.
With thousands expected to line the streets, Cantrell said one of the best places to watch the parade is near the revue stand by the VFW Post 4075, at the corner of Capital Avenue and East Second Street, where groups will stop to give a brief performance.
The parade will follow it’s tradition route — beginning at the State Office Building (Department of Revenue) onto High Street to Capital Avenue and ending at the Capitol. Parade floats and vehicles will go around the traffic circle at the foot of the Capitol and disband at East State Street, where police will direct away from Capital Avenue.
Entry fees, which are non-refundable, are $50 for non-profits organizations, with for-profit groups paying $75. The deadline to register is Thanksgiving Day — Nov. 22.
Registration and rules can be accessed online at www.star1037.com/christmas-parade/.
In case of inclement weather, the parade will be moved to 7 p.m. Dec. 14. Should bad weather occur, an announcement will be sent out by noon on the day of the parade.
For Cantrell, saving the parade wasn’t just a Christmas miracle — it was necessary.
“Traditions are what bind us together,” she said, adding that even when we are fighting over things, we can always agree on traditions. “We need to celebrate what we have in common — not what divides us.”