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Christmas City of the North Parade Duluth

Christmas City of North Parade

Christmas City of the North Parade

Time to get your Parade on!

Christmas City of the North Parade 2009  is tomorrow night Friday, Nov. 20 at 6:20.

Weather forecast: 40 degrees / Partly Cloudy

Free parking downtown at these ramps and meters free after 5:00 pm:

Tech Village
Shoppers Auto Park
Lake Superior Plaza
Fourth Avenue Auto Park
Wells Fargo Bank
US Bank
Fond-du-Luth Casino

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36 Comment(s)

  1. Programming not on those who don’t like going outside and prefer to watch the parade on TV: You may have a hard time finding it if you have DirecTV (or cable, I think). The parade is going to be broadcast on channel 6.1, which is sort of a pain…at least for folks who enjoy recording it with their DVR and watching and rewatching analyzing everything being said by the NNC personalities.

    Danny G | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  2. Is there a listing of start times for locations. Example: If I am standing by the Holiday Center, what time does the first float go by?
    Or does the 6:30p start time mean that is the time the first float goes by the KBJR?
    This makes a difference when you have little ones and it’s cold.
    Cinnamon schnapps mixed with apple cider only lasts so long (adult beverages, of course).

    heysme | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  3. 6:20 is approx. when the parade hits Lake Avenue bridge.

    Cory | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  4. The first float will actually go by the TV station at approximately 6:20 PM, not 6:30. You can do the math from there and adjust for your location, heysme.

    kelli | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  5. Hey Akjuneau, if you’re reading this, did you ever get to the bottom of how many Christmas City of the North Parades there have been?

    Last year was promoted as the 50th annual, but I remember you did some research and could find no proof of a parade actually happening 50 years ago. Some people were confident that last year’s was actually the 48th or 49th.

    Might as well call this year’s the 50th and next year’s the 50th, too, just to make sure we celebrate the milestone properly, whenever it is.

    Paul Lundgren | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  6. Paul, if I understand correctly, last year was the 50th anniversary of the parade, but it was the 49th parade presentation, as the JFK assassination caused one year of absence. This year is the 51st annual. The first owner of KBJR, Bob Rich, invented the parade for the purposes of fueling retail sales in the downtown area in 1958. Some of the people who marched in the first parade ever at the request of Bob Rich were in the studio last year and verified the date.

    kelli | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  7. @kelli -- thanks for the info. I updated the banner to 51st.

    Cory | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  8. If the first parade was in 1958, and last year was the 50th anniversary of the first parade, it must have been the 50th parade, not the 49th.

    Had there been a parade in 1963, the year President Kennedy was assassinated, the parade in 2008 would have been the 51st.

    (The first parade wasn’t parade #0, it was #1. So the first anniversary of the first parade is parade #2, and so on. Kids, this will be extra credit on your next math test, so study up!)

    Paul Lundgren | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  9. When I put out the call last year for people’s recollections, I got answers all over the map -- some people said it was the 50th, some said it was older, some said it was younger -- and no one could provide any proof to back up their memories.

    If you rely on documentation -- old newspaper clippings, old KBJR newspaper ads, etc. -- instead of often-hazy, decades-old memories, last year was the 48th, this year is the 49th and next year is the milestone 50th annual Christmas City of the North parade.

    akjuneau | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment

    Here’s a link to the song. In Merv’s words, “it’s nicecle.”

    Topofthehillman | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  11. That math is all above my pay grade at the Northland’s NewsCenter. But the folks in upper management who’ve been here for 30-plus years insist and swear it was the 50th last year. Again--50th anniversary, 49th presentation. I just do what I’m told to do.

    kelli | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  12. Why wouldn’t it be on Directv? I get channel 6 on my box. Cable also gets channel 6. Uniformed much.

    Byron nelson | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  13. Byron…do you get channel 6.1 on your DirecTV? When the broadcast channels went digital they all got “extra” channels. Check your schedule for tomorrow night. No parade.

    Danny G | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  14. If any satellite or cable company is using KBJR’s signal, the parade will air tomorrow, regardless of what their on-screen schedule shows. Sometimes the data entry workers who put those schedules together miss the one-time-only changes that are sent to them, and they don’t show on the on-screen guides as a result. I hope that clarifies things a little.

    kelli | Nov 19, 2009 | New Comment
  15. OK people, please heed Chuck Frederick’s rather self-righteous editorial in today’s DNT! Don’t stand in the damn street and block the kids during the parade!

    Calk | Nov 20, 2009 | New Comment
  16. Where do you recommend watching the parade from? its always so crowded and its hard to see anything besides the back of peoples heads :/

    Laura | Nov 20, 2009 | New Comment
  17. I grew up in Dulth but live in Texas now. What site can i go on to watch the Christmas City of The North Parade?

    glenblacketer | Nov 20, 2009 | New Comment
  18. We stationed ourselves at the I-35 bridge this year. Watching the assorted hordes of dancers break into a run as their support vehicles gunned it up Lake to make up the TV break stagger reminded me of the scene near the end of Blackhawk Down, where the troops were onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackPageview','/yoast-ga/outbound-comment/']);">running the “Mogadishu Mile”..

    the Big E | Nov 20, 2009 | New Comment
  19. next year we need to have a PDD float .. or dance troupe … c’mon! We can do it!!

    baci | Nov 21, 2009 | New Comment
  20. KBJR should be embarrassed by the way they screwed up last night. Scrunching the picture where it was hard to see, cutting in and out of network programming, camera angles all over the place etc etc. He’ll a high school production class could have done a better job. Wholly shit!

    Ferris Alexandar | Nov 21, 2009 | New Comment
  21. Just want to say that I think watching a local parade on tv is pretty dang lame--the whole point of such an event, culturally, is to be there as part of the community (however loony it might be), not to be at home watching it on cable--if you want “reality” television there are plenty of those lame network shows.

    ds | Nov 21, 2009 | New Comment
  22. I watched it for bit. DS is right, would have been more interesting if I’d been there. I certainly would have loved seeing the scene Big E describes, that’s hilarious.
    BTW, the KBJR folk kept calling it the “51st” Xmas City of the North parade.

    Calk | Nov 21, 2009 | New Comment
  23. Glad the parade was on my TV box last night. Got the whole thing recorded on the DVR and the whole thing recorded on the laptop. Currently cutting the best audio clips.

    Danny G | Nov 21, 2009 | New Comment
  24. I believe Danny also has VHS recordings of every Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.

    TimK | Nov 22, 2009 | New Comment
  25. I love the comments/complaints under the DNT’s story. One woman said that some people obstructed her child’s view, and when she told the police, they did nothing about it and laughed at her.

    Barrett Chase | Nov 22, 2009 | New Comment
  26. The Spin Collective is looking for (web preferable) clips of their performance in the parade.

    adam | Nov 22, 2009 | New Comment
  27. I live in Ashland and we’ve watched the parade on TV since…well, as far back as I can remember. Yeah, it’s fun to be there in-person, but it’s fun for those of us in outlying areas to be able to enjoy it vicariously, too.

    Mary | Nov 22, 2009 | New Comment
  28. Adam, I have audio, but no video. I assume that doesn’t work?

    Danny G | Nov 22, 2009 | New Comment
  29. Ya-- They’re looking for video clips of themselves in the prade.

    adam | Nov 22, 2009 | New Comment
  30. After seeing them at the DUSU launch party this fall, I am banned by Mrs Goose from even watching the Spin Collective anymore, letalone videoing or photographing them. She thought I was paying waaay too much attention, and the girlies won’t stop wondering aloud about how cold they must have been in those tiny outfits, and how amazing it is that they didn’t get burned so I left it there. But anyway … my friend was across the street from me at the parade and posted a couple of pretty good pictures.

    In a related note, I noticed many dancers with fire this year, more than ever before. Did anyone else catch that? In addition to the fascination of all those flames, I found it mildly amusing that (for insurance reasons, I suppose) there was usually a “mom” type character strolling along with the group blithely pulling a wagon filled with a fire extinguisher or two, a first aid kit and maybe some extra clothing. Next year the team “moms” need their own costumes.

    wildgoose | Nov 23, 2009 | New Comment
  31. gea | Nov 23, 2009 | New Comment
  32. Hi Everyone,

    Just wanted to answer a couple of questions and give you the full story behind the Christmas City of the North Parade.

    My name is Chris Rich and I am the grandson of Bob Rich, the creator of the parade. My grandpa created the parade back in 1957.

    It was created because Thanksgiving fell late in November that year and the shopping time for the local businesses had been shrunk by about a week. So my grandfather being an avid lover of Christmas, thought to have a parade the Friday before Thanksgiving to lengthen the “Christmas Season” and have an event for everyone to come downtown to gather and shop and to help the local shops and retailers.

    The turnout and response was fantastic and the parade has been held every year on the Friday before Thanksgiving for the last 52 years. The only exception was in 1963, the year JFK was assassinated. The parade was to be held the following week but was cancelled due to the tremendous national tragedy.

    The parade started relatively small, and continued to grow each year due to the tremendous appreciation the great people of Duluth and the northland showed for it.

    As the years progressed and after my grandfather became the owner of WDSM which he turned into KBJR-TV, they incorporated different events at the old Armory building and the DECC. Some of the new activates were Toyland, a kids winter wonderland; and Operation Rudolph, a program pre-dating Toys for Tot’s, where people would bring in anonymous toys for under privileged children and the station employees would deliver them to various homes further broadening the term that had come to define the people of the Northland and had also become synonymous with Duluth a TRUE Christmas City!

    In the early 1960s a gentleman by the name of Don Peterson approached my grandfather with two songs he had written for the parade. “Christmas City” the up-beat toe tapping song that you can’t help but sing along with and “The Song of the Christmas City” a more slow tribute with a jazz feel similar to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”

    My grandfather then asked a friend of his, Merv Griffin, if he would sing the songs and put it to music. This was well before Mr. Griffin had become the successful TV personality and media man that he would later become. Both Merv and his wife flew to Duluth, met with my grandparents and stayed at their house on London Road. Merv took the sheet music back to a recording studio in New York City where both songs we pressed on a 45rpm record with full big band orchestras. Merv’s wife also sang in one of the songs.

    The parade had truly become a great event and was one of my grandpa’s favorite things and something he took tremendous pride in. He loved seeing all the kids enjoying the parade and getting to see Santa and all the other things that the event had manifested into. It is an honor to our entire family that the city and KBJR still conduct the parade some 20 years after my grandpa sold the TV station and some 15 years after his death.

    Shortly after selling KBJR he purchased another TV station in the Melbourne/Vero Beach area of Florida WIRB-TV. He wanted to bring the same Christmas spirit to the people of that city as well. And he did. The first televised Christmas City of the South Parade was held in November 1994.

    My grandfather died that following week on December 4, 1994 of a heart attack. My father, Rob Rich and grandmother, Betty Rich were with him at the time.

    Bob Rich was a really good man and enjoyed giving and loved the spirit of Christmas and seeing how everyone comes together during this time of year. He especially loved the city and people of Duluth!

    If any of you would like a copy of either “Christmas City” or “The Song of the Christmas City,” I have a link where you can find them and would be very happy to email it to you. Simply send me an email with your request and I will email it to you. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

    Chris Rich

    CHRIS RICH | Nov 29, 2009 | New Comment
  33. If a business is looking into participating with a float in next year’s parade, what would it need to do ?

    how does one participat for next years parade | Jan 12, 2010 | New Comment
  34. Contact the Northland’s NewsCenter.

    Paul Lundgren | Jan 12, 2010 | New Comment
  35. I have been looking for the lyrics for Christmas City song by Merv Griffin. Please send me the link -- thanks.

    deb axtell | Oct 31, 2010 | New Comment
  36. I would like to watch the parade online…does anyone know where I can find it????

    J | Nov 20, 2010 | New Comment

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  1. Nov 13, 2012: from The History Of The Christmas City Of The North Parade

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