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10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Nashville Christmas Parade

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the 65th Nashville Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 1.

Written By:  Nashville Lifestyles

Photographers:  Supplied

Photos courtesy of the Nashville Christmas Parade

The 65th annual Piedmont Natural Gas Nashville Christmas Parade, presented by Tootsie’s, has been a favorite Music City tradition for years. Below are 10 fun facts that you may not know about this Nashville holiday staple.

It’s for a great cause.

Proceeds from the 65th annual Nashville Christmas Parade support the lifesaving work at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and the Piedmont Natural Gas Share the Warmth program. As a nonprofit organization, Children’s Hospital cares for patients regardless of ability to pay. Share the Warmth is an energy-assistance program designed to help low-income families pay their monthly energy bills, regardless of the energy source used in the home.

It has a long history.

Nashville’s Christmas Parade dates back to 1927, and it has been a favorite holiday tradition ever since. Numerous organizations and entertainers have participated in the parade since its inception, spreading holiday cheer to thousands of parade goers each year.

The floats are a big deal.

The elaborate floats seen making their way down Broadway during the parade are brought in to Nashville from a 250,000 square foot studio in New Orleans. The company that produces the floats, Kern Studios, also creates floats for 18 Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans each year.

The 2016 parade won an Emmy Award.

The 63rd Annual Nashville Christmas Parade was awarded for best special event coverage at the 32nd Annual Midsouth Regional Emmy® Awards. Parade producers John Best, Pamela Bolling, Sarah Griffith, and Julie Stadler (daughter of Ann and Monroe Carell Jr.) of JM Best Entertainment and Hardrive Productions received the award for their first year producing the event.

It’s not just a local tradition.

With more than 200,000 people in attendance each year, the crowd is made up of both local and visiting spectators. In addition to local live coverage, the parade is syndicated on television and airs across the country throughout the holiday season and into January in more than 160 major markets with an estimated viewership of 14.5 million people.

It takes a village.

Hundreds of volunteers give their time to serve as balloon handlers, float escorts, banner carriers and more to make the parade a success. World-class performers, ranging from dancers to puppeteers to acrobats, travel in for the parade, and more than 250 costumes are created and on display. Pulling off an event of this magnitude is definitely a group effort!

Children’s Hospital patients serve as parade ambassadors.

Each year, current and former patients serve as child ambassadors to represent the 1,700 children who are cared for daily at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. These brave and inspiring young people can be seen waving at the crowd from the Children’s Hospital float during the parade.  

It wouldn’t be possible without community support.

Generous sponsorships from community partners make the parade the success it is today. From entertainers to media sponsors to those supporting a float or balloon and so much more, friends within the community are vital to the production and experience of this holiday staple. 

The parade is free to the public, but VIP packages are available.

Spectators can enjoy an exclusive opportunity to be a part of this exciting event with family and friends. VIP packages are available for $1,500 and include 10 VIP experience tickets for breakfast and lunch at The Palm Restaurant, box parade seats located in the performance zone, valet parking and more! 

This year’s parade will be here sooner than you know it.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2018 Nashville Christmas Parade! Stepping off at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 1 in downtown Nashville, this year’s parade is slated to be the biggest yet with world-class performers, celebrity guests, larger-than-life balloons, custom floats, and fun for all ages.

For VIP packages, sponsorships, and how you can get involved, contact Linde Pflaum at linde.pflaum@vumc.org. To learn more about the 2018 parade, visit nashvillechristmasparade.com.

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