[Update at 9:47 a.m. Nov. 16 2017]
Dallas Holiday Parade organizers said Thursday that a corporation stepped in to fund the parade, confirms Jeffrey Giles, CEO and executive producer of the parade.
The parade organizers will announce the company's name Friday at 4 p.m.
"Our goal was to get the parade down the street," Giles says matter-of-factly. With this new sponsorship, the Dallas Holiday Parade will go on.
It's been a dramatic year for downtown Dallas' annual Christmas parade, and it isn't even December yet. The nearly 30-year-old Children's Health Holiday Parade in downtown Dallas (which has operated under more than one name) was on life support in 2017 after sponsor Children's Health ended its partnership with the annual festival, leaving it without the funds to continue.
Giles, who first volunteered in the parade in 1990 and served as the director of pageantry for more than 20 years, swooped in and tried to revive it in late August 2017. He renamed it Dallas Holiday Parade and crossed his fingers that another major corporation would step in. "I felt there'd be a windfall of support," he said.
You can guess what happened next: "Indeed, not one single corporation has delivered a dime," he says. Now, it's getting too close for comfort, with the parade stepping off Dec. 2.
Since this story was written, several companies have pledged donations to the parade, but none have assumed the top prize -- the several hundred thousand dollars needed. However, groups such as Downtown Dallas, Inc. have turned in $10,000 checks; more are expected to offer donations on Tuesday.
Giles and his team have extended their deadline to 9 p.m. Wednesday to convince that one major corporation -- or several, or a wealthy family, or three, know anybody? -- to become sponsors of the newly branded Dallas Holiday Parade. Giles cited a price tag of $473,000 to put on the event, and that includes fees for security, insurance, salaries for two staffers, clean-up, barricades, public restrooms and more.
Giles says his company can pay up to $100,000 of the total price.
While a few hundred dollars have been raised on a GoFundMe page online, and another group offered $1,500, Giles says that the parade will have to be canceled if the big bucks don't come in.
"I truly believed, because it's Christmas, because it's the holidays, and because our country is coming out of a steep recession ..." Giles says, trailing off.
"I just could have not been more wrong."
He ticked off names of most of the major corporations in Dallas-Fort Worth; each had a reason why the parade wasn't a fit for them this year, he recalls.
"I can't imagine the parade being canceled. I can't," he says. "But I also know having to pay that price myself will drain me totally and completely."
"Maybe this will be my Hail Mary," he says.
If the parade goes on, Giles says a large number of local marching bands and drill teams will take part in the Dallas Holiday Parade.
Dallas Holiday Parade is slated for 10 a.m. Dec. 2. Find more information at dallasholidayparade.com.