Nashville Christmas Parade

Nashville Christmas Parade
Every year the city of Nashville, Tennessee hosts its famous Christmas Parade which is considered one of the most spectacular events of its kind in the United States. The first Nashville Christmas Parade was held in November 28, 1927.

The idea of organizing holiday parades to boost sales during the Christmas shopping season has proved extremely efficient. Philadelphia was the first city to launch a Santa Claus parade in 1920. Many other cities followed suit soon after, Nashville being one of them. The first edition of Nashville’s Christmas parade was sponsored by the Associated Retailers of Nashville.

The parade has had several sponsors over the years. Its previous sponsors include Nashville’s daily newspapers, WLAC Radio, and Newspaper Printing Corporation. Since 1952, Piedmont Natural Gas (formerly known as Nashville Gas Company) has been the title sponsor of the event, making the Nashville Christmas Parade one of the few parades whose title sponsor hasn’t changed in decades.

During the long history of Nashville’s Christmas parade, there have been numerous parade routes. The route currently begins at the intersection of 8th Avenue and Broadway, heading east down the city’s major thoroughfare and ending at the base of the Woodland Street Bridge. The time of the parade has changed too. Originally occurring at night, the parade moved to the afternoon in 1952. In 2015, the parade moved to its present Saturday morning time.

The Nashville Christmas Parade is one of the largest and most spectacular events of its kind in the United States. It attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators every year, locals and tourists alike. The largest attendance was recorded in 1951 when the parade drew an estimated 400,000 people.

The parade features beautifully decorated floats, performers, cheerleading squads, clowns, marching bands, costumed characters, and more. The procession is led by Grand Marshal, chosen from celebrities and entertainers. Each parade has a theme. The first recorded theme was “Christmas Descends on Nashville” in 1947.

All proceeds from the event go to charity. The parade supports Piedmont’s “Share the Warmth” program, which assists local low-income families who struggle to pay energy bills. It also benefits Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

In 2020, the event was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nashville Christmas Parade

Photo: Piedmont Natural Gas




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