PLANT CITY The Jolly Old Elf will help herald in the holiday season as he makes way through downtown at 7 p.m. Friday at the annual Plant City Christmas Parade.
Santa will be joined by about 100 floats and eight marching bands in one of the biggest parades of the year in Plant City. Dodie White will serve as grand marshal, and longtime youth coach Buddy Bennett and his family will be honored.
Candy, beads and other goodies will be distributed by some of the parade participants.
“It’s going to get everyone into the spirit of the season,” said Sharon Moody, who is on the parade committee.
Santa as usual will ride in a unique vehicle. The parade organizers keep his mode of transportation a secret and his past rides have included a missile launcher and an airboat on a trailer.
The parade starts at Alsobrook and Collins streets. The procession goes north on Collins, then east on Reynolds before disbanding near the Hillsborough County courthouse.
Thousands of spectators are expected to line the streets.
The parade comes a day after the community Christmas tree and other holiday decorations are lit for the first time. That celebration will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday in and around McCall Park, 100 N. Collins St.