Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – For the first time ever, the annual XTO Energy Parade of Lights will now kick off the holiday season on the Sunday before Thanksgiving – November 22, 2015 – improving parade access and parking to all in attendance.

“After surveying downtown shops and restaurants, street seat purchasers, parade participants, and sponsors, the XTO Energy Parade of Lights was strategically moved to the Sunday before Thanksgiving,” said Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives, Inc. “We think this move will make it quicker and easier for parade attendees to park and access downtown and improve the overall experience. We are thankful for the support received from the Fort Worth community, and especially from our title sponsor, XTO Energy.”

“We believe the Sunday night parade will work well for families considering Fort Worth and Arlington schools will be closed during the week of Thanksgiving and students will not have school the next day,” said Larry Anfin, chairman of the Festivals and Events Committee for Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives, Inc. “Sundays are always a day to spend with your family, and this will give parade-goers the opportunity to build a new tradition before everyone gets busy with other holiday events and activities.”

The 2015 XTO Energy Parade of Lights (the 33rd annual) will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 22, and will mark the city’s official kickoff to the holiday season. The theme for this year’s parade will be “Let The Season Begin,” and more than 100 professionally-designed-and-produced floats (each with more than 12,000 lights), brilliant antique cars, lively marching bands, precision equestrian units, decorated horse-drawn carriages, and casts of carolers will stroll through the 1.58-mile parade route throughout Downtown Fort Worth.

First staged in 1983 by Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives, Inc., the Parade of Lights began as a means to help change perceptions of Fort Worth’s Central Business District. At that time, stakeholders realized that a unifying event – such as the Parade of Lights – would provide an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to see Downtown as a place of celebration, entertainment, fun and relaxation. Now known as one of the top illuminated parades in the U.S., it has grown from 25 entries in 1983 to more than 100 entries and thousands in attendance today.

For more event information, visit the XTO Energy Parade of Lights’ website.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)