Santa Parade and Snowfest to take over downtown St. Pete today

By Katie Jones, Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, December 02, 2017, 9:20 AM EST

The Santa Parade and Snowfest are taking place Saturday in downtown St. Pete and along with Santa, snow, and fun, there is something extra this year--stronger security. 

  • Santa Parade and Snowfest to take over downtown St. Pete today
  • Police add extra security to keep spectators safe
  • Parade runs from 10 a.m. to noon 

More than 30,000 people are expected to come out to one of the oldest and largest parades in St. Pete to help kick off the holiday season. 

There will be floats, live music, and 64 tons of snow that will fall on North Straub Park at the annual snowfest. 

While there are tons of activities for families to enjoy, the St. Petersburg Police Department has also added some extra security measures this year to keep spectators safe. 

There will be barricades at the entrance to the park, side streets will be blocked with large sanitation trucks, and once police shut the parade route down, there will be restricted access so people can't cross the strets or walk around the parade route. 

"This is the new normal. These are some protocols that we've put in place just from learning from other events going on in the world and that we will be seeing going forward at all of our local parades," Yolanda Fernandez with the St. Pete Police Department said. 

There will also be a large police presence scattered across the area and the department spokeswoman said there is a strategic plan in place. 

The parade starts at 10.m. starting on Central Avenue and 5th Street. The route is:

  • East on Central Avenue to Bayshore Drive
  • North on Bayshore Drive to 5th Avenue Northeast
  • East on 5th Avenue Northeast to Bayshore Drive Northeast
  • North on Bayshore Drive Northeast to North Shore Pool parking lot 
There are also other events going on in the downtown area today, making the area very congested and very busy. 
 
Some critical areas are:

Demens Landing – Access to Demens Landing will only be available via 1st Avenue Southeast from 1st Street South. Bayshore Drive will be closed both north and south of 1st Avenue Southeast. A cone line will be set up to allow two way traffic along 1st Avenue Southeast. Traffic in this area will be very congested by 9:00 am so plan for extra time getting in and out of Demens Landing.

Saturday Morning Market – Access to the market for vendors will be along 1st Avenue Southeast. Traffic in this area will be very congested by 9:00 am. Make plans to arrive early to get in or out.

The Pier Approach – Due to security concerns, access to the Pier Approach will be shut down at approximately 9:45 am. Vehicles will NOT be permitted on or off of the Pier Approach during the parade. This will last until the end of the parade at approximately 12:00 pm. Make plans in advance to be across the parade route before the parade begins.

West Marina Parking Spaces – The parking spaces along Bayshore Drive will be blocked in with bicycle racks by 9:00 am. No vehicles will be permitted to be moved until after the parade is over at approximately 12:00 pm.

Vinoy Hotel/Vinoy Place Condos – Access to both the hotel and the condos will be permitted at all times. This area will be congested however, so residents and guests should plan for extra travel time in this area.