- Anna Bentley For the AJC
Can you really call a holiday a holiday if it doesn't have its own parade?
A divisive question for sure, but one we thankfully don't have to quibble over in Atlanta. Here, holidays always come with a parade. That's even the case with some of our football games, too.
To make your parade planning a little easier this holiday season, here's a list of the city's top holiday parades.
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade Presented by Lions Club International.
Date: 8 a.m. Jan. 1
General route: Downtown, from Peachtree Street and Baker Street to the World Congress Center
Dubbed "the official kickoff for game day," the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade brings revelry to downtown Atlanta. Starting at Peachtree Street, marching bands, beauty queens, floats and cheerleaders will make their way down Baker Street to the World Congress Center, ending at the FanFest, a family-friendly attraction for fans of both teams. And if the parade, FanFest and bowl game itself aren't enough football, the College Football Hall of Fame is only a short walk away.
Previous holiday parades this season:
Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K.
Date: 7:30 a.m. Nov. 24
General route: Begins at Turner Field and winds its way around town.
What is a parade if not a bunch of people walking (and running, in this case) on closed city streets? We submit that the Atlanta Track Club's Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K – a tradition for thousands of runners and volunteers each November – definitely counts as a parade.
Now that that's settled, here are the details: The route meanders around city landmarks from its starting point of Turner Field, passing by Centennial Olympic Park, Atlantic Station, Piedmont Park and Oakland Cemetery before heading back to the Ted. And there's something for the whole family, with 5K, 50 meter dash and one mile options. There are awards for every age range. The Atlanta Track Club is partnering with the Atlanta Mission to collect a ton of clothing, literally, for those in need. Participants are encouraged to bring clothes to donate or donate their warmup gear. Interested, but haven't signed up yet? Registration is open until Nov. 16.
The Children's Christmas Parade.
Date: 10:30 a.m. Dec. 3
General route: Midtown, starting at Peachtree Street and 16th Street and ending at Peachtree Street and 5th Street.
The largest holiday parade in the Southeast, the Children's Christmas Parade has been an Atlanta tradition since 1981. Each December, the parade marches down Peachtree with giant balloons, elaborate floats, costumed characters, marching bands and, of course, Santa Claus himself. Although you're welcome to bring folding chairs to sit along the parade route, you also can buy bleacher seats from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. And if you can't make it in person, don't worry: The parade is broadcast live on WSB-TV and replayed throughout the season.