The Kissimmee Festival of Lights holiday parade has been around for decades. And city native Jeremy Lanier has seen just about all of them.
He was born in Kissimmee. The family business, Lanier’s Historic Downtown Marketplace, is right on Broadway, and the parade rolls right past it each December. And, as a double down, he now lives in a second-story residence right over Broadway and Darlington Street, so now the parade passes beneath his living room.
Few people look forward to the parade — this year’s is on Saturday at 7 p.m. — more than Lanier, and if you looking closely from a spot on Broadway you’ll see his smiling face poking out a window of his perch.
And the Lanier family has been a part of it.
“My sister (Angie) has marched in it. Our store has an old ice truck, we used to drive it in the parade and (former city commissioner) Jerry Gemskie would ride in it.”
Even though Saturday’s a busy day in the family antique shop, the Laniers close up a little early in order to enjoy the spectacle.
“Parade Day is always exciting,” he said. “Around 3 o’clock you start seeing things happen to prepare. Fridays and Saturdays are busy for us, so by Saturday afternoon we’re ready to relax, and watching the parade this time of year is a great way to do that.”
The parade and the other holiday events the city puts on that day have gotten such a fond reputation that many families come from outside of Kissimmee.
“It’s free, it’s fabulous and it’s 100 percent worth coming,” Lanier said.