What began two years ago as a Christmas parade in downtown Lawrence with 23 horse-drawn vehicles has become the 1995 Eldridge Hotel Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade.
"Basically, it (the parade) came about from a wagon train I was on back in 1993," said Rob Phillips, parade founder and coordinator. "I saw the interest people had in it and thought it would be great to do something like that in Lawrence."
Phillips organized the first Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade in 1993 with 23 horse-drawn vehicles. Last year, Phillips' parade drew 68 vehicles, and this year's entries for Saturday's parade total 118.
"This year, we are up to 118 horse-drawn vehicles and will feature the Fort Riley Mounted Color Guard in their original uniforms and the fox hunters from Leavenworth," Phillips said. "There's a lot of class involved each year."
Phillips said people from Iowa and as far away as Fort Worth, Tex., and the Chicago area come to be a part of the parade.
"We'll have buggies, wagons, covered wagons, a hearse and just about every type of vehicle drawn by horses," Phillips said.
For this year's parade, Phillips anticipates over 25,000 people will turn out for the estimated hour-long event. With the expected cooperation from the weather, Phillips is expecting another great year for the event.
"We work very hard and our participants will love and enjoy it," Phillips said. "Each of our participants will make a big effort to come here (to Lawrence). We feel if we can make it an enjoyable event for them, they will want to return."
The parade begins at 11 a.m. today, at Buford M. Watson Jr. Park, located between Kentucky and Tennessee streets and Sixth and Eighth streets. The parade will continue down Seventh Street to Massachusetts and on to 14th Street.