What does Kissimmee Festival of Lights Parade provide for downtown and the Main Street corridor? A wonderful gathering place for the community.

Thousands of people may come through every day, but unfortunately most are not stopping, or they walk, or drive,  eyes forward with a purpose.

Saturday night, they sat lawn chair to lawn chair or blanket to blanket along the sidewalks and grassy medians with those in their own community, content to watch the festively lit parade and a little bit of holiday life go by rather than being the life that sped along.

The crowd was in the thousands. Had to be. Three deep on the sidewalk for four blocks, and then shoulder-to-shoulder on the median? That’s gotta be thousands, and they were smiling, laughing, and wishing each other great joy in the holiday season.

Like it was timed that way, the evening Amtrak Northbound train sounded its horns as an opening for the festivities, for floats started a meander down Broadway soon after.

This year’s theme was Candy Land, it showed in many of the floats and, yes, marchers handed it out by the handful, and mouthful.

Sure, elected officials, political candidates, marching bands, little leagues and dance studios love to march in the parade. But it’s Santa Claus bringing up the rear watching over all of them.

If it didn’t feel like the Christmas season before Saturday night, it sure does now. It’s going to be a long week next week – the last one for school kids of the year, and for some their last week of work before travel, or when out-of-town relatives arrive.

Watching Kissimmee’s traditional Festival of Lights parade was an awesome way to leap into the spirit of the season. And Saturday didn’t disappoint! Well done City of Kissimmee, and all that were part of bringing this amazing parade to our community. It was another great example of what a truly awesome community we live, work, and play in.