Holiday Parade

Holiday Parade

Each year, on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving, Recreation and Parks hosts the Welcome Santa Parade ushering Santa and the Holiday Season into Akron!  The parade is an illuminated night parade featuring community groups, arts and cultural organizations, drum lines, and businesses with illuminated floats, vehicles and costumes.  The Lock 3 Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Fireworks takes place immediately following the parade.


Thanks to all who joined us for the 36th annual Welcome Santa Parade on November 24, 2023.  This year’s parade winners were:


2023 Award Winners
Best Music - Akron University Drumline
Best Light Display - Downtown Akron Partnership
Holiday Spirit Award - Garfield CLC Lady Rams HS Cheerleaders
Most Festive Holiday Theme - Girl Scout Troop 90399
Most Creative - Curtis J. Rhoden III Memorial Foundation 
Best Overall - Akron Derbytown Chorus
Make plans to join us for the 2024 Welcome Santa Parade on Friday, November 29, 2024!

  • All units must be illuminated/lighted (lighting is required for the safety of parade attendees as well as for entertainment value).

  • Parade check-in time is 5:00 PM. Lineup numbers will be provided at check-in .

  • Only one Santa Claus is permitted in the parade.

  • Units with animals must provide their own cleanup services.

  • No throwing of candy/other objects (must be handed out).

  • Only nationally recognized beauty contest winners permitted.

  • Only politicians currently in office may participate.

  • No stationary performances in front of the reviewing stand. The parade must keep moving.

  • Applications must be returned no later than November 14th by emailing them to Tracy Murphy at

Holiday Parade Application 
Click here for the Holiday Parade application. Applications must be returned no later than November 14th by emailing them to Tracy Murphy at

Spectator Information
Please join us in welcoming Santa back to Akron!  Cheer on the floats, marching bands, costumed characters, and community organizations as they make their way down Main Street and Bowery to the Lock 3 back yard.

Those wishing to watch the parade can line up along South Main Street between Exchange and Bowery and on Bowery between South Main Street and the Lock 3 back yard.  Spectators are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets.  The parade will take place snow, rain, or shine.

The parade awards ceremony, tree lighting celebration, and fireworks display will take place immediately following the parade on the show mobile stage at the Lock 3 back yard.