Through the Years
About the Parade
The parade originally started in 1919 as the Wurzburg’s Santa Clause Parade on Campau Square. The parade was designed to bring people downtown for a kickoff to the holiday shopping. Seeking new leadership, the parade was taken over by the Grand Rapids Jaycees. Of note, our most well-known member to date is the late great President Gerald R. Ford. The Jaycees have insured that the parade is a great community event with leadership and volunteer opportunities.
In 2010, title sponsor Art Van Furniture came on board, adding large scale attractions and a partnership with WoodTV8 to host the event on live television. Today the parade is the 2nd largest in the state of Michigan, competing against Detroit’s Thanksgiving parade.
Don't Miss it!
Iconic Santa Float
The parade’s most sought after entry, Santa Claus, will be flying into West Michigan in style! Santa will ride in the historic Jaycee’s sleigh that dates back to the 1950s, the sleigh will soar Santa over snow covered Grand River and the iconic Blue Bridge.