River Holiday Parade Participants Announced | Texas Public Radio

River Holiday Parade Participants Announced

Jul 10, 2019

The Ford Holiday River Parade announced their Grand Marshal and other float participants on Tuesday. The River Walk Association's Marketing Diretor Paula Schechter said the Grand Marshal for the Friday, November 29 parade will be wearing cheap sunglasses.


"Yep, he's pretty awesome! He's the one and only Billy Gibbons, best known for his remarkable playing with ZZ Top," she said. 

Tens of thousands of people line the River Walk for the annual holiday parade which happens not on the streets, but on the river. The starting point is El Tropicano Hotel, then it heads 2.5 miles downtown, through Horseshoe Bend and by the Arneson River Theater. Besides Billy Gibbons' float, 28 other floats will be filled with music.

Billy Gibbons as Santa Claus
Credit River Walk Association

"We have five-time Grammy Award-winner Flaco Jimenez. We have Jimmie  Vaughan, founding member of the Thunderbirds, Patricia Vonne, the three-time Austin Music Awards winner,” she said. “Randy Brooks, he wrote Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer." 

"Sauce Gonzales, he does blues and doo wop. Patsy Torres, Tish Hinojosa, Rosie Flores, Archie Bell, who did the Tighten Up song back in the 60s. Little Joe, oh and Augie Meyers, one of the founding members of Texas Tornadoes."

The annual event always happens the Friday directly following Thanksgiving, and is the city's official open to the holiday season. River Walk lights will also be lit for the ticketed event, though there are several free viewing areas as well. Schechter suggests parents with young children view the parade toward its beginning, on the northern end.

"They'll be finished with the whole parade before it hits the downtown area," she said. 

Those not coming downtown can watch the parade on the CW35, and Schechter says, at a surprising number of places around the nation.

Ford Holiday River Parade float
Credit Charlie 32 Krispy Kream

"It is syndicated throughout the United States through New Year's Day, with over 200 airings of the parade."