Keystone Heights Christmas parade scheduled for Dec. 12

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 12/2/20

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – The Lake Region Kiwanis Club has to do things a little differently this year, but fear not: Santa and his Christmas parade still will make its way through the city.

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Keystone Heights Christmas parade scheduled for Dec. 12

Posted

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – The Lake Region Kiwanis Club has to do things a little differently this year, but fear not: Santa and his Christmas parade still will make its way through the city.

The Kiwanis Club is a Keystone Heights-based nonprofit focused on children in the area. They are committed to building new play areas at local schools, getting food and drinks to families in need and getting cleaning supplies and other necessities to children for school and at home.

The nonprofit wraps up each year nicely with a bright, red bow in the form of a Christmas parade and despite some new changes, it’s happening once more.

“With this year being a wash with the pandemic, things are a little different,” Kiwanis board member Debbie Beals said. “Signups for the parade are going a little slower, but we’re still expecting at least 30 people signing up.”

These expected 30 signups will be responsible for the individual “floats” of the parade in the form of decorated pickup trucks, light-laden golf carts, tractors and other vehicles. Kiwanis is still taking applications for floats and you can reach out to Kiwanis president Todd Beals for information about that at (904) 588-2083.

The parade usually makes its way through State Road 21, but the city’s streetscape construction meant that wouldn’t be possible this year. The parade instead will make its way down S.W. Grove Street and proceed toward Keystone Heights Junior-Senior High, which is where it will end.

“It’ll be a different route, but it gives us the opportunity to bring the parade to people’s houses,” Beals said.

Some lucky families will be able to view the parade from the comfort of their front lawn. Santa, his helpers and parade participants will be handing out candy to the children watching from the sides of the streets, and parents need not worry: Kiwanis will be picking up leftover candy from the parade the Sunday after it makes its way down the street so nobody’s lawn will be covered in Tootsie Rolls and candy canes.

This year’s parade is yet another in Kiwanis’ longstanding tradition that goes back for years, Beals said. And despite the difficulties Kiwanis has faced making sure it happens this year, it was never a question of “if’ for the nonprofit.

“We know it’s a big event here in the city and it’s something so many look forward to,” Beals said. “There was no way we weren’t going to have it. Anybody that wants to be in the parade can be in the parade, and they should. It really is a special event.”

Santa won’t be driving down the streets and instead will walk the streets, interacting with all the children along the way. Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputies will be handling safety in the form of barricades. Beals said, when the parade makes its way through the city on Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.

“We hope to see everyone in the city celebrating Christmas with us,” Beals said.

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