Every year, the city of Lakeland asks Christmas parade spectators to wait until at least the night before the parade to put chairs along the route, and every year their requests are ignored. This year the city says it’s going to remove or relocate some of the chairs.

“We will remove/relocate chairs that are totally blocking the sidewalk or that are in the way of crosswalks and hindering the use of disabled parking spaces,” the city communications staff wrote late this afternoon in a Facebook post.

The reaction from the city’s Facebook followers? Most commenters feel the city isn’t going far enough.

“Or how about just no chairs and do it the old fashion way. Stand and watch!” Adena Kniss wrote. She added later: “And some were in the road due to the wind today!”

“Honestly, chairs shouldn’t be allowed period until a certain time the day of. Maybe if people’s chairs start disappearing, they’ll quit doing this,” Julie Kight Ferguson wrote.

Rick Visco wrote: “I don’t see the point in saying don’t put out chairs if it isn’t being enforced. Very simple. Just remove any and all chairs put out before allowed time or just make a new rule you can put out your chair when you are there to sit in it. Then it’s truly first-come first-serve.”

Carrie Kotal said a bicyclist crashed when he didn’t see a chair-saver’s rope blocking a sidewalk access: “Please don’t put ropes across where people need to access the sidewalk. A bicycle rider didn’t see someone’s rope and it caused him to crash. Luckily he wasn’t hurt.”

Early chair placement got love from only a few commenters, including Robin Horton Sechrest: “Leave the chairs alone. Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy this time of year, spread joy and good cheer!”

And the chairs did spread joy and good cheer to Laura Jordan Payne: “I watched a dog lift his leg on a few chairs while I was sitting at a red light today. I giggled a lot. 🐾🙌🤷‍♀️”

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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3 Comments

  1. I think as long as the chairs are out of the way and not blocking the walk paths, the crossings not parking it should be ok as long as it is after 7 pm that you can put the chairs out.

    1. We live off of Lemon Street very close to parade route! It is a true nightmare for us. People park without regards to the home Owner/ Renter. Blocking our driveways, parking up on our yards and trashing our yards and streets. We have to block our drives and they try to move the blockade we constructed. The worst intruder this year cussed me out really bad with her kids in the back seat. She told me my driveway in trance was public roadway! I called the Police Department they said no it was not public roadway. They could send someone out. She would have been long gone. Thankfully her friend came from her apartment told her she had parking for her. She did not want to do this she felt she had the right to park in front of my driveway! She did not move until Friend told her I was on the phone with the Police Department! Cussing me out as she left! This was a continuous battle on and off the whole event time. People were parking in front of fie hydrants at stop signs. If the City is going to hold popular events they need to manage the parking issues better. By the way I am an elder with handicap issues I cannot have my driveway or roadway blocked.

  2. I really think the first come, first serve approach should be used. Not everyone has the time or resources to put out chairs ahead of time. I’ve been coming for years with a little one and trying to find a place to sit when we get there is always hard. This year, we’re not bothering. We’ll just go to other ones in the smaller surrounding cities.

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