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Your questions about the 2023 Lakeland Christmas Parade, answered

Wondering how the city plans to protect its swans, where you can sit, or when you can place your chairs? Keep reading to learn how this year’s parade will work and ask us your additional questions.

Santa and Mrs. Claus wave from atop a parade float.

Wave hello to Santa at this year’s parade.

Photo provided by Tom Hicks

Typically, when one imagines the Lakeland Christmas Parade, things like Santa Claus, candy, and Lake Mirror come to mind. This year’s festivities are bringing another, albeit unlikely, Lakeland icon to the forefront of our imaginations: The swans.

That’s because, as you might know, the “Christmas in Candyland” parade is taking a different route around Lake Morton, rather than Lake Mirror, to avoid construction on Orange Street and Lake Avenue.

A graphic via the City of Lakeland shows this year's parade route.

Use this map to pick your perfect parade-viewing spot.

Map provided via City of Lakeland and Junior League of Greater Lakeland

We asked our readers to send in their questions; here’s what you should know about the parade on Thursday, Dec. 7:

Q: What is the biggest concern for the swans?
A: Trash. While some expressed concerns about noise and pollution, veterinarians are primarily concerned about plastic and beads getting into the water.

Q: How does the city plan to minimize the parade’s impact on the swans?
A: Immediately following the parade, the city will dispatch cleaning crews first to the area surrounding the lake, and then to the rest of the route. The city is also placing barriers along the lake’s shores, limiting spectators to the sidewalk side.

Q: When can I place my chairs on the route?
A: As always, you can place your chairs on the day of the parade — no sooner. Place it mindfully, because the city will remove any chairs blocking sidewalks, handicap parking spaces, or crosswalks.

Q: What can I do to minimize my impact on wildlife during the parade?
A: Make sure any trash you produce gets securely into a trash can, refrain from throwing beads, and stay on the approved side of the lake if you plan to sit on that part of the route. Reminder: Never feed the swans.

Q: Is the route likely to change?
A: At this time, according to the City of Lakeland’s Communications Director Kevin Cook, the route is set.

Have another question? Send it our way.