The Annual DeLand Christmas Parade is presented by the Rotary Clubs of DeLand. Prior to 2016...for 67 years the Deland Jaycees had put on the annual parade. Six plus decades of children, their children, their grandchildren, and now their great-grandchildren have enjoyed this parade that takes place the first Saturday of every December.

The Deland Committee of Senators, aka the Jaycees Parade Committee consisted of a group of current and aged Jaycees who in the past had served in leadership roles for the Jaycees organization. It included past Presidents and JCI Senators. The committee's sole purpose was to continue the heritage of the Jaycee Christmas Parade and promote the belief ... "that Service to Humanity is the Best Work of Life!"

Over the years the event had grown to as many as 20,000 people watching more than 100 participating entries. In early 2016 the Jaycees determined that the parade had grown to such a large size that one organization could no longer oversee it. In June 2016 the Jaycees contacted the city of DeLand to explain their decision to no longer present the event.

Shortly after that the City of Deland contacted Rotary. Rotary has 3 clubs in DeLand. Their combined membership made them perfect candidates for assuming the oversight of the event. The Rotary Club of DeLand, The DeLand Breakfast Rotary Club and The Rotary Club of Downtown DeLand agreed to provide their membership in an effort to sustain the DeLand Christmas Parade.

"We look forward to working together and closely with the City to make this year's parade the best ever," the Rotary Clubs said in a joint statement.

Mark Thompson, chairman of the Jaycees DeLand Christmas Parade Committee, said handing over the parade reins wasn't an easy decision, but it was the right thing to do for the community.

"We've reached an age in our lives when it was time for another organization that can sustain the parade to take it over. Several months ago, we started talking to the city about this, that somebody else has to pick this up," he said.

"About a dozen of us have been donating our time for many, many years with those members of the local Jaycees chapter, as well, that have contributed and helped. We thought it was beneficial for the community and for the sake of the parade," Thompson added.

The mayor said the city is grateful for the legacy left by the Jaycees.

"The DeLand Jaycees have tirelessly organized DeLand's Annual Christmas Parade for many years, an event much-loved by our citizens, and we can't thank them enough for their dedication to this event," Apgar said.