Children’s Christmas Parade

Children’s Christmas Parade
Many US cities host spectacular holiday parades to kick off the Christmas season, and Atlanta is not an exception. Unlike most parades that were founded by retailers to boost shopping during the holiday season, Atlanta’s Children’s Christmas Parade is held to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA).

The Children’s Christmas Parade was founded in 1981 to benefit Egleston Children’s Hospital. In 1998, Egleston Children’s Hospital merged with Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital to form CHOA, and the newly created non-profit healthcare organization took over the parade. The event is held on the first Saturday in December.

The parade is the largest event of its kind in the Southeastern United States. It attracts over 500,000 spectators from all over Georgia and even out-of-state. The parade is preceded by two breakfast events, Breakfast with Santa at the Four Seasons Atlanta Hotel and the Smiles of the Season Breakfast at Colony Square. Guests are served a buffet breakfast, enjoy special Christmas crafts and a visit from popular characters.

What does the Children’s Christmas Parade has to offer? It is a truly spectacular procession featuring lavishly decorated floats, giant helium-filled balloons, marching bands, performance groups, and more. The parade starts at 10:30 am at Peachtree Street and 16th Street and continues for 1 mile, ending at Peachtree Street and 5th Street. The route used to be longer, but in 2013 the parade moved from downtown to Midtown due to the construction of Atlanta Streetcar, and its route became shorter.

One of the parade’s signature traditions and its integral part is the Distinguished Clown Corps founded in 1991. Every year a group of Atlanta’s leading business executives and community leaders dress up in funny clown attire and march the parade route as a separate unit, spreading holiday cheer. Of course, participating in the parade isn’t their only duty. First and foremost, Distinguished Clowns support CHOA. Since their inception, they have raised more than $1.2 million.

The Children’s Christmas Parade is free to public, but those who want to avoid the stress of finding a spot for their family and friends along the parade route can purchase bleacher seats. Breakfast of Santa guests receive bleacher sits along with their breakfast tickets. The parade is a rain or shine event, it may be canceled only due to extreme and dangerous weather conditions. The event is aired live on WSB-TV Channel 2 and re-run again on Christmas Day.

Children’s Christmas Parade

Photo by W Thompson




Related Articles