A section of downtown will once again be temporarily transformed into the North Pole Friday night.
Plant City's 29th-annual Hometown Christmas Parade will be highlighted and capped by an appearance from Santa Claus himself.
Santa's exact mode of transportation which has included a Hummer and an airboat in previous years has always been kept under wraps. Though a new parade committee is responsible for this year's festivities, the details surrounding Santa's appearance will remain a secret.
"We think it lends a certain charm to the proceedings," said Davy Miles, chairman of the Christmas Parade Board.
Sharon Moody will be this year's parade marshal. She has been involved in many civic and service organizations including occupying a variety of positions with the Plant City Kiwanis Club and founding Plant City Black Heritage Celebration, and is presently the treasurer for the parade board.
"As far as I'm concerned, I'm just the same old person," Moody said. "I was very honored."
Moody said the biggest change for this year's parade is the involvement of 14 Plant City churches, which will join other area schools, businesses and organizations as parade entrants.
The start time for the parade is 7 p.m. The route will begin at the intersection of Collins and Alsobrook streets before traveling north on Collins through downtown Plant City. The procession, which will include both floats and marching bands, will turn right on Reynolds Street and the parade will end at the courthouse, at Reynolds Street and Michigan Avenue.
In a nod to an accident during the 2007 parade that resulted in the death of 9-year-old Jordan Hays as he dispensed candy from a float, participants are not allowed to throw objects to spectators. However, participants are allowed to pass out candy and other objects to anyone attending the parade.
Moody is once again looking forward to having all of Plant City involved in one of its signature events.
"We have a new committee, a new board, but in the end this is Plant City's parade," she said. "Everything we've done is for them."