Downtown Springfield Association
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The 2018 Downtown Springfield Christmas Parade: Behind the numbers.

December 06, 2018

A holiday tradition returns at 2 p.m. Dec. 8 when the 2018 Downtown Springfield Christmas Parade marches through Park Central Square. The parade is presented by Penmac Staffing.

This year’s parade theme is “Wonders of Christmas.” It honors the incredible accomplishments of Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium. That venue drew 1.6 million visitors in its first year and earned America’s Best New Attraction and Best Aquarium honors from the readers of USA Today.

Those are some great numbers. Here are some more great numbers behind this year’s Downtown Springfield Christmas Parade.


That’s the estimated attendance listed on the parade’s special event permit application. The event annually draws thousands of revelers to Downtown Springfield.


The parade route clocks in at just under one mile long, approximately. It starts at the intersection of South Street and Mount Vernon, and ends near the Springfield Expo Center on St. Louis Street. Need to stake out your viewing place? Download our parade map!


That’s the total number entries in the Downtown Springfield Christmas Parade. The number is up just a little bit from last year. We say entries, because it’s not all “floats.” That total also includes marching bands, dance teams, walking groups and more


This year’s parade will be the 53rd managed by the Downtown Springfield Association. That’s a lot of parades! There were Christmas Parades in Springfield before the DSA, but we’re not exactly sure when the tradition was born.


Brrrrrr. As of Dec. 7, that’s the estimated high temperature for parade day, so bundle up. There have been lots of questions about the winter weather forecast. Rest assured the safety of parade participants and spectators is of the utmost importance. We’re coordinating with the National Weather Service, Springfield Police and Public Works to keep an eye on it. If weather forces a change of parade plans, we will announce that on our social media channels, the parade’s wepage and through press releases to local media.


School spirit will be on display alongside holiday spirit. A total of 13 entries represent area high school performing groups. Springfield schools Central, Glendale, Hillcrest, Kickapoo and Parkview are represented, as are Blue Eye, Fordland, Pleasant Hope, Strafford and Willard. That number includes 10 marching bands, two drum and bugle corps and a dance team.

Technically there are two dance teams entered. Glendale’s Crimson Girls will march alongside the Falcon Regiment. Kickapoo’s Golden Girls will be in the parade separate from the Golden Arrow Band.


This parade is too big for just one grand marshal. In keeping with our “Wonders of Christmas” theme, we’ve invited Lee Beasley and Bryan Nadeau to be our grand marshals. Beasley is the General Manager of Bass Pro Shops’ Grandaddy Store. Nadeau is the Vice President of Conservation Attractions and Executive Director of Wonders of Wildlife. The duo will be riding in a 1960 Cadillac convertible, courtesy of the Route 66 Car Museum.

The 1 and only Santa Claus

He’ll make an appearance at the parade, of course. Mrs. Claus will be there, too. We hear he really loves coming to Downtown Springfield and seeing everyone at the Christmas Parade.

The Downtown Springfield Christmas Parade is managed by the Downtown Springfield Association. The event is made possible by Penmac Staffing as well as the support of Mid-West Family Marketing, The Dalmark Group and Heer’s Luxury Living, The Downtown Springfield Community Improvement District, Burns & Sons Allstate Insurance and KOLR 10.