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Toledo’s own Olympic medalist, Erik Kynard, Santa Claus, and beloved characters from the film Toy Story will headline The Blade’s 25th Annual Holiday Parade.
This year’s parade will begin at 10 a.m. today at the corner of North Summit Street and Jefferson Avenue and conclude at North Huron Street at the intersection of Monroe Street.
Parade attractions include the Distinguished Clown Corps, 10 high school marching bands, the University of Toledo Rocket Marching Band, and various dance teams and choirs.
The parade’s co-grand marshals will be Mr. Kynard and Toy Story characters, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and Jessie.
A two-time state champion at Rogers High School, Mr. Kynard, 21, received a silver medal in the high jump during the 2012 London Olympics. He is a student at Kansas State University and the city's first Olympic medalist since Edmund Coffin won two equestrian golds in 1976.
Despite some economic challenges during recent years, the event has grown, thanks to the generous financial support of local businesses and the community.
Other parade sponsors include Taylor Cadillac and Toledo’s Distinguished Clown Corps.
A new parade participant — the Toledo Dental Society — will distribute more than 5,000 free toothbrushes during the parade, said Jayne Klett, special projects director for the organization.
In conjunction with the parade, the Kris Kringle Village at the Imagination Station will feature photo opportunities with Santa, a coloring contest, science-related workshops, and the christening of an honorary elf.
The Imagination Station will be open from noon to 5 p.m. today. There will no admission charge to Imagination Station on today for children living in Lucas County who are under the age of 12.
The Holiday Parade is scheduled to air on a tape-delayed basis on Buckeye CableSystem, Channel 69, at noon on Thanksgiving Day.