Grand Rapids Santa Parade 2021 is Not Happening

Grand Rapids Santa Parade 2020

We Hoped the Grand Rapids Santa Parade 2021 Would Be Back

They made the call early this year.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the 2021 Santa Parade is cancelled. Stay tuned for the parade to return in “a spectacular way” in 2022.

Here’s a look back at a few highlights from 2019. Hang in there ’til 2022, Grand Rapids!

GR Santa Parade 2020
GR Santa Parade 2020 2
GR Santa Parade 2020

GR Santa Parade Has Been Canceled for 2021

The Grand Rapids Santa Parade (currently organized by the Grand Rapids Jaycees) has been a local tradition since 1919.

The parade is always held on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving in downtown Grand Rapids and serves to kick off the holiday season in West Michigan.

Parade-goers can expect a feast for the eyes with floats, giant balloons, marching bands, and of course, the real Santa Claus.

The parade is typically from 10 AM – 1 PM. In the past, WOOD-TV 8 has broadcast the parade live.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Grand Rapids Santa Parade Experience


Bundle Up

Just like at the North Pole, you need to dress for the weather.

Bundle up. Wear layers. Bring scarves, mittens, hats and bed your wagons with blankets.

Warm boots and socks are a great touch, as well as hand and toe warmers.

Nothing kills holiday spirit faster than a freezing child.



There are many parking ramps in downtown Grand Rapids close to the action.

The Monroe Center parking lot (above Leo’s) has an hour of free parking.

We’ve got the scoop on parking in downtown Grand Rapids if you’d like more info.


Bring a Chair or Blanket

Bring chairs or a blanket to sit on and wrap up with – it’s a long parade.

kids bundled up in a blanket and chair at parade

Think Through Restroom Matters

Plan ahead for any restroom needs you may encounter while in line for the parade.


Make Waiting Fun

Have activities along to keep your kids occupied. Perhaps themed games, holiday snacks, and festive music would help pass the time.

A holiday podcast might just be the ticket. Try the free, seven-episode holiday podcast Welcome to Tinsel Town, where 8-year old Holly’s wish sends her on an adventure in Tinsel Town that includes a giant candy cane, a mysterious ornament, and a polar bear Queen.


Plan for Photos

Kids might want to bring cameras to capture what they see along the route. You might get a few selfies with Rudolph in the background.


Bring a Bag

Some people in the parade toss candy and, while it’s nothing like what you score at Halloween, it’s nice to have a place to stash it.


Where to Watch the Grand Rapids Santa Parade

If you want less a crowded view, station yourself near the BOB, which is near the end of the parade route.

If you want candy, sit near the front of the parade as they sometimes run out of candy.


Don’t Miss Your Chance to Take a Photo with Santa

Meet Saint Nick directly after the parade and take your photo with him!

This free event (sponsored by ITC) will be held in the lobby of the building at 250 Monroe.

“We’re moving Santa indoors for a more pleasant experience for all,” says Sarah Fales, a parade organizer.

Have you been to the Grand Rapids Santa Parade? Any tips to share? Please leave a comment below!

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23 thoughts on “Grand Rapids Santa Parade 2021 is Not Happening”

  1. My company is wanting to be in the parade ? How do we join or is there a phone number I can call to set up something ?

  2. Where photos with Santa take place Disney’s Fancy Nancy star and Santa Parade Grand Marshall Mia Sinclair Jenness and Miss Michigan 2019 Mallory Rivard will be present for a Meet and Greet with fans as well until 12:15pm!

  3. Would you ever consider doing a night parade. So much prettier with the lights. I think you would get more people and easier for the little ones!

  4. would like to know where the route is located? I checked the website and nothing came up. Do you know which route the christmas parade is taking?

  5. Christine Donazzolo

    We drive from an hour away and yes we have to get up early but we have always enjoyed the entertainment and exciting floats and entries. We love hopping over to the library afterward.

    1. While our family likes to be at the beginning of the route you should be able to arrive around 10am if you plan to watch from the end of the parade route!

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