‘This is what Christmas is about’: Families line up along downtown Lakeland streets for annual Christmas parade
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LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — The 42nd Annual Lakeland Christmas Parade dazzled audiences once again.

Hundreds of families lined up along the streets of downtown Lakeland to catch a front-row view of the excitement.

Some people set out lawn chairs to reserve their spot as early as 4 a.m.

This year’s theme was “Christmas in Candy Land.”

From gumdrops to gingerbread houses, almost every float was decorated in decadence.  

It caught the attention of Tatyana Perkins who made it a point to bring her niece and nephew to experience the magic.  

“I want them to experience the same childhood I had,” said Perkins. “I remember as a child coming here with my parents and my siblings and just experiencing all the fun. I want them to have the same childhood memories so when they get older, they can bring my kids.” 

Dozens of high school marching bands also participated in the parade.

Students at Lakeland Christian School spent months preparing for the event.  

“This is what Christmas is about,” said Reemylan Collins, a junior at Lakeland Christian School.  “It’s about hard work, dedication, and doing what you love to do.”

The Lakeland Christmas Parade is a time-honored tradition.

Many who participate have fond memories of sitting with their families along Lemon Street and watching the parade twist and turn through downtown Lakeland.  

“We would go to the parade and it was a lot of fun,” said Evan Stiltner, a freshman at Lakeland Christian School.  “She gets to see me all grown up now in the parade.” 

“This is the exact atmosphere of the Lakeland parade,” said Perkins. “We may be from different cultures and backgrounds, but we all share this common joy.” 

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