Downtown Kokomo

Kokomo's Old Fashioned Christmas Parade will take place Dec. 4 downtown.

The city’s Old Fashioned Christmas Parade is just around the corner.

The parade will take place at 6 p.m. Dec. 4 and will follow the same route as the annual Haynes Apperson Parade. Starting at Walnut and Market streets, the parade will head north and then turn left onto Jefferson Street. It will then continue south on Main Street to Sycamore Street. Parade watchers are encouraged to line Main Street for the best view of the parade.

The city originally planned for the return of an annual Christmas parade last year, but crowd restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused the city to cancel. This year, city officials say, is a go.

“This parade is a great way to kick off the holiday season,” Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore said in a release. “We want to bring back that sense of community and holiday cheer that many remember from years past. It’s been a rough 18 months or so for everyone. We want to do anything we can to get people in the holiday spirit.”

As of Monday, the city has 60 parade participants, including firetrucks and police vehicles, walkers, traditional parade floats and more, according to Dave Trine, operations coordinator for the city and member of the parade’s board. Floats include Charlie Brown-themed, gingerbread-themed, The Grinch-themed and more, Trine said.

“It should be pretty cool,” Trine said of the themed floats.

Also participating in the parade is a combined marching band from all five Howard County schools. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be arriving on horse and carriage as well.

Before the parade, at 4:30 p.m., various groups of Christmas carolers will perform on Main Street on the courthouse square.

After the parade, other activities will be available, including tiny train rides, Jingle John and his live reindeer, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus and free carriage rides.

This year’s Christmas parade will be the city’s first in recent memory. According to Kokomo Tribune archives, the last large-scale holiday parades were held in the late ‘90s and early 2000s and were sponsored by the Tribune.

The city’s likely largest ever Christmas Parade was held in 1961 when an estimated 15,000 packed downtown to witness what the Tribune then dubbed the “most ambitious and elaborate Christmas promotion event in the city’s history.”

Put on by the Chamber of Commerce, the highlight of the parade was the numerous inflated balloon animals akin to the ones used in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Included in the parade was a dragon on a 55-foot float, an 18-foot cow, an elephant, a giant balloon Christmas tree with 200 lights, a giant duck, a 55-foot Santa Claus with eight latex reindeer and more. The cost of the balloons was estimated to be $75,000.

During the event, Santa and his helpers (Girl Scouts) picked up letters to Santa and Christmas lists, and local high school marching bands performed.

Tyler Juranovich can be reached at 765-454-8577, by email at tyler.juranovich@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @tylerjuranovich.

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