Chuy’s annual Christmas parade comes to town

Sessen Stephanos, Lifestyles and Entertainment Editor

The Chuy’s Christmas Parade has always been a big part of my life. I was born and raised in Austin and started going to the Chuy’s Christmas Parade with my dad and cousins when I was 4 years old. Every Saturday after Thanksgiving, we would get all bundled up and head downtown to watch all of the big hot air balloons and enthusuastic participants march down the street.

Each year thousands of people head downtown to watch performers, massive inflatable balloons, classic cars, marching bands and the different floats of local organizations. The biggest sponsor is the tex-mex restaurant Chuy’s (hence the name), but is also in partnership with other local companies such as The Shady Grove, Emporium Packaging and Spice Co., and several local radio stations.

This  Christmas parade is unique because it is dedicated to “operation blue,” which raises money and gift donations to give to the needy children in the Austin area.

Every Friday after Thanksgiving my mom, sister and I would go pick out toys and wrap them so we could donate it to the Blue Santa Float.

This year the parade is on Nov. 29. The parade route begins at the State Capitol at 11th Street and Congress Avenue and proceeds all the way down to Cesar Chavez.

Because I have attended this parade for so many years, here are the following tips that I wish I would have known before. First of all, bring extra layers! The weather is usually pretty chilly and you won’t be able to move around that much to stay warm. I would really suggest wearing gloves and a hat to keep your fingers and ears warm.

Second, figure out where you want to park beforehand. Downtown is going to be an absolute mess. There will be roads blocked off and very limited parallel parking. Make sure you bring money to pay for parking in a parking garage nearby and allow yourself enough time to account for traffic and for walking to the site of the parade.

Lastly, bring a present! Bringing a present to donate is what makes this parade so special. Operation Blue Santa’s float will be accepting presents to pass out to children in need during the Christmas season. It is a fun activity to attend with friends and family, but it is also a great opportunity to give back to your community.