83 years of Sun Bowl Thanksgiving parade history

El Paso News

Taking a look back at the parade's history, it's quite interesting to learn what decades of this tradition has brought for thousands of El Pasoans.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Taking a look back at the parade’s history, it’s quite interesting to learn what decades of this tradition has brought for thousands of El Pasoans.

The first parade happened back on January 1, 1939. It was initially called the “Sun Carnival” parade which was put together by the El Paso Downtown Lions Club.

“The Sun Bowl football game started in 1935, that was the first game and three years later the lions club put together a parade. It was called the Sun Carnival back then, so I think the first parade was on January 1st, 1939 and has evolved from there,” Bernie Olivas, Executive Director with the Sun Bowl Association said.

In 1978, the tradition was moved to happen on Thanksgiving day instead. One of the main reasons – the weather.

“First of all, I think the weather is more predictable in November than it is on January 1st so for weather purposes they changed it from January 1st to Thanksgiving day. I think was a great move and it’s been there ever since. It’s 83 years old, it continues to get better and better,” Olivas shared.

However despite the weather, Olivas said it didn’t stop thousands from attending in the past.

The parade is coordinated and run solely by volunteers who build some of the unique and custom floats.

All kinds of businesses, organizations, and even high school marching bands get to be part of the parade as well for a family friendly event.

“It’s a family tradition for a lot of people tell me they’ve been going to that parade since they were kids, and now they’re taking their kids and I hope it continues,” Olivas said, “Weather has never been an issue with people coming to the parade. We expect hopefully about 250,000 people to come and line the streets of Montana to see the parade and I hope everyone comes out and has a good time.”

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