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Donelson Christmas Parade Canceled, New Event Scheduled As Replacement

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Posted at 5:40 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-27 18:40:56-04

For the first time in more than 30 years, the Donelson Christmas Parade has been canceled. Organizers with the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce cited a problem with the permit that allows roads to close for the event.

"We are all heartbroken over this," said Sharon Kipp, the chamber of commerce president. "Unfortunately the staging area where floats have lined up for the last four years isn't available and we didn't find that out in time to amend the permit."

For the man who has dressed in a big, red suit for nearly thirty years are part of the parade, it's an emotional loss.

"It's a part of my life, it's who I am," Larry Keeton said. "And some of the things over the last thirty years that's been whispered in to Santa's ear - Santa has to be here."

Keeton's suit was passed down by Donelson's original parade Santa. Since the 80's, he and the suit have always sat on the final float in the parade which ends on Donelson Pike near Fifty Forward, an active aging senior center.

"They line up to see Santa," Keeton said. "But the kids are kids and sometimes it’s not all happiness that’s whispered in the ear, like make daddy come back home."

It's moments like those that left Keeton determined to be in Donelson on parade day, even without the parade.

"I think it’s important for Santa to keep his obligations,' he said. "So Santa will be here, one way or another.”

Cookies with Santa was set for Dec. 3 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Fifty Forward, and was opened to the public.

Organizers said plans for the 2017 Christmas Parade are already underway.