GM Financial Parade of Lights Names A&M Chancellor John Sharp Grand Marshal
See full Fort Worth Magazine article by FWTX Staff here.
Ring-a-ling, here them ring, soon it will be Christmas Day. But it is sure enough Christmastime in the city, beginning this Sunday.
The 40th GM Financial Parade of Lights, Texas’ largest illuminated holiday parade, will mark the official start of Santa’s part of the holiday season, and the chief Aggie will be the ceremonial head of it all.
Parade officials announced on Monday that Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp will be this year’s grand marshal for the 1.59-mile parade through downtown Fort Worth.
The parade begins at 6 p.m. Sunday.
Sharp, 72, once a member of the Texas state Senate and twice elected state comptroller before his appointment as A&M chancellor, joins the ranks of previously honored Parade of Lights’ Grand Marshals, including Nobel Peace Prize nominee Opal Lee, former Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Billy Bob’s Texas owners Pam and Billy Minick, Emmy Award-winning conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya, U.S. Navy Captain Henry “Hank” Kim, and acclaimed singer-songwriter Grady Spencer, among many others.
His selection as grand marshal coincides with the Aggies’ decision to move into the neighborhood. Last year at this time, Sharp led an A&M-contingent to Fort Worth to announce that the university would build a new law school and research center — Aggieland North — in the southeast portion of downtown.
That was music to the ears of a growing American urban center looking to attract top-level talent and business.
“We're going to build Fort Worth into a hub of research and technology that would create jobs and spur business growth like no other. We're only limited to our imaginations. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Aggieland North,” Sharp said at the time of the announcement.
Tens of thousands will again fill the sidewalks to see the parade, this year themed “Lights, Camera … Christmas.” It will feature more than 100 illuminated floats, thousands of sparkling lights, an array of festive performers, holiday decor, and live music.
As per tradition, this year’s parade will conclude with a special appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Below is a rundown of what’s new for #ParadeOfLights2022 and other essential tips to “know before you go,” including the parade route, public transportation options, street closures, and more.
Arrive Early: Habitual late-arrivers be warned. With more than 35 street closures, attendees are encouraged to arrive downtown early to enjoy pre-holiday festivities. There is lots to do, including snapping photos with the Fort Worth Christmas Tree, shopping at a variety of retailers, and grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many downtown restaurants and local food trucks. Live holiday music, festive displays and decor can be seen and heard.
Street Closures: On parade day, several streets and highway ramps will be closed beginning at 6 a.m., including portions of Weatherford Street, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd streets, Taylor, Lamar, Burnett, Cherry, and Florence Streets. Spur 280 from Interstate 35 will close at 4 p.m. Belknap, Houston, and North Main Streets will remain open to traffic during the parade. For a full list of street closures and times, visit https://fortworthparadeoflights.org/parade-information/street-closures/.
Parade Route: At 6 p.m., the parade and opening ceremonies will officially begin on Weatherford and Throckmorton Streets. The parade will proceed east along Weatherford Street and turn south on Commerce Street all the way to 9th Street. At 9th Street, the parade will proceed west to Houston Street, and then turn north on Houston Street all the way to 2nd street. At 2nd Street, the parade will proceed west to Throckmorton Street, then turn south to conclude at 3rd and Throckmorton Streets. To view the complete route, visit https://fortworthparadeoflights.org/parade-information/route-information/.
Public Transportation: With many street closures and tens of thousands in attendance, all Parade of Lights’ attendees are encouraged to take public transportation to get to and from #ParadeofLights2022. TEXRail will operate on parade-day, transporting attendees to and from Fort Worth Central Station, located just two blocks from the parade route (the last eastbound train will depart at 10:40 p.m.). TEXRail riders can park for free at six different Trinity Metro park-and-ride stations and ride the train to downtown. In addition, Trinity Metro will offer bus service to downtown via bus routes 1, 2, and 15, and also operate its electric bus service – The Dash – throughout downtown and the Cultural District until 10:30 p.m. Visit www.RideTrinityMetro.org for operating schedules and more info.
Parking Options: For folks planning on driving and self-parking downtown, organizers recommend entering downtown from the same direction as where they’re planning to sit or view the parade, due to the many street closures. Various free and paid parking lots and garages will be available for parking. Parking next to roped-off meters is not permitted. Visit https://www.fortworthparking.com/downtown for all downtown parking options.
TV & Digital Viewing: For those unable to attend this year's parade, a live TV broadcast, hosted by CBS11’s Brooke Katz and Scott Padgett, will air at 6 p.m. on KTXA-TV/TXA-21 and online at CBSDFW.com. A second TV broadcast will air at 7 p.m. on Christmas Day on KTXA-TV/TXA-21. In addition, the parade will broadcast via Facebook Live on the Parade of Lights’ Facebook event page: www.facebook.com/ParadeofLightsFW.
Reserve “Street Seats”: While the parade is free and open-to-the-public, attendees can get the most illuminating experience by purchasing reserved tickets, or “Street Seats,” in advance. Tickets start at $18 and are available for purchase now. Visit https://fortworthparadeoflights.org/parade-information/street-seats/ to view all reserved seating options and discounted packaged ticket prices.
Volunteer: Hundreds of volunteers are what make the parade a success year-after-year, with opportunities available in hospitality, merchandise sales, stand and seating attendants, staging areas, entry check-in, and more. Volunteers can sign up online here: https://fortworthparadeoflights.org/participate/volunteer/.
The official hashtag for the 2022 GM Financial Parade of Lights is #ParadeOfLights2022. For the latest updates on the 40th annual GM Financial Parade of Lights, visit the Parade of Lights, go to www.FortWorthParadeOfLights.org; Facebook: www.Facebook.com/ParadeofLightsFW; or Instagram: www.instagram.com/paradeoflightsfw/.