Houston Festival Foundation to stop producing Houston's annual Thanksgiving Day parade

August 7, 2013 5:52:26 PM PDT
The Houston Festival Foundation is ending its production of the annual Thanksgiving Day Holiday Parade in downtown Houston.

The organization says the event is just becoming too expensive.

"The Holiday Parade, which took place on Thanksgiving Day, required more than $500,000 to produce each year, with costs increasing annually," the Houston Festival Foundation said in a prepared statement.

Kim Stoilis, President & CEO of the Houston Festival Foundation, said the group had notified city officials of the financial problems in January and had hoped to find someone else to produce the event but just couldn't hold off any longer.

"For three years, sponsorship has not matched parade costs and we were unable to secure the additional support we needed to continue the event. We delayed the public announcement in hopes that the Parade would be saved by a third party," Stoilis said. "We have been in discussions with many outside organizations to find a new home for the event in the eight months since we made our decision, including the COH."

The parades began in 1995. Last year's parade attracted more than 400,000 spectators, and another two million watched it from home.

In response to the news, Houston Mayor Annise Parker issued the following statement:

"I am disappointed HFF is having financial difficulties and is walking away from producing the annual holiday parade and has sold all of the event's assets. The parade is a tradition that has been enjoyed by thousands who come downtown to experience it in person and by a large television audience that reaches far beyond Houston. I am certain today's news has many asking what happens now. I personally want to see it continue. Discussions are already underway by various parties to see whether the parade can be saved."

The Houston Festival Foundation says now it will mainly focus on the springtime Houston International Festival and its associated education and outreach programs.

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