DALLAS - For nearly 30 years, the Dallas Holiday Parade has meant the start of the holiday season for hundreds of thousands of people.
It boasts floats, dancers, marching bands, and of course, Santa Claus.
"This is one of the very few things in life that will get the awe from a child," said Jeffrey Giles, head of HTE Dance and Spirit Group.
Many feared the parade wouldn't go on after Children's Health announced this spring that it would no longer be part of the event. However, Giles and HTE Dance stepped in to help save the parade, which is scheduled to happen on 10 a.m. Dec. 2.
"We have over 2,500 marching band kids, 1,500 dancers, all of them from the North Texas, DFW area," Giles said. "I simply can't imagine not doing it."
Those kids are donating their time this year to be part of the parade. There are also five floats and five giant inflatables.
But the one thing Giles hasn't been able to get is the money to hold the parade itself. So far, no corporate sponsors have stepped up.
"I felt certain with the power and money that exists in this city, that there are corporations that would say, 'Oh no, we will celebrate this with our citizens,' and there's been nothing,'" Giles said. "There are numerous reasons from, 'we're outside of our date range' to 'it's the end of the year' to Hurricane Harvey."
If organizers are unable to secure an additional $347,000 for basics like security, insurance and cleanup by Monday afternoon, the parade will be canceled.
"It's like how do you cancel Christmas?" Giles said. "How does one cancel something like that? It's devastating. Even with what's happened in the last couple years with what's happened in our own city of Dallas, we need to come together, we need to celebrate."
A GoFundMe page has helped a bit, but many people don't realize the parade remains in jeopardy.
Giles said canceling the parade may be inevitable. But he's not giving up just yet. He hopes, over the next four days, someone will give the gift of the spirit of Christmas to half a million people.
"They used to call this parade 'The Miracle on Commerce,'" Giles said. "At this point that's what we're hoping for."
If you'd like to find out more about this year's parade, go to dallasholidayparade.com.
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