City of Lakeland gets into the holiday spirit with 36th Annual Christmas Parade

When: Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 | 7 p.m.
Posted at 12:44 PM, Dec 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-01 17:31:05-05

Chairs are already lining up along the parade route for Lakeland's 36th Annual Christmas Parade on Thursday night. 

The Junior League of Greater Lakeland is starting the parade with a 15-minute fireworks display on Lake Mirror at 7 p.m.

The parade route begins at The Lakeland Center and travels along Lemon Street, turns left on Tennessee, proceeds right onto Main Street, goes around Lake Mirror and then heads back to the Lakeland Center on Orange Street. 

The parade is expected to draw thousands of people to downtown Lakeland. 

With thousands expected downtown, LPD is taking no chances. Much like last week when NYPD stepped up patrols at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, LPD is doing the same.

Lakeland Police will add more officers than ever before -- uniformed and undercover.

"We treat it just like we would the Super Bowl, and he Macy’s parade," said Sgt. Gary Gross with the Lakeland Police Department.

Gross said they also took note of recent events, like the terror attack in Nice, France, when a man drove a truck through a large crowd.

To try and discourage that and other mayhem, police will strategically place barricades, and in other areas, will use patrol cars to totally block off traffic.

"You've got to think about all of that. There’s a lot of people here at this parade," he said.

ABC Action News reporter Ryan Raiche will explain on ABC Action News at 5 p.m.

Follow Ryan on Twitter for updates from Lakeland.