The Hastings Hometown Christmas Parade is a Truly Southern Holiday Tradition

Hastings, Florida is one of those traditional southern enclaves ringing with the small town feel that local leaders feature in a holiday tradition: the Christmas parade.

Hastings is about 18 miles southwest of St. Augustine on Florida’s Historic Coast with the civic pride of a close knit small hamlet of about 600 residents.

The Hastings Hometown Christmas Parade begins at 10 a.m. December 8 at the W.E. Harris Community Center, 400 E. Harris St.  and then runs right down Main Street to the Hastings Public Library, 6195 E. Main St.

The event lasts about an hour and has been growing in size since its rebirth in 2015. The fourth year in a row, it is expected to bring about 40 organizations that will participate in the parade with floats, marches, displays and other holiday trimmings.

The town of Hastings enjoyed tourist influxes dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s when tourist hotels occupied some spots there. The town was also an agricultural center for many years, serving as a marketing and supply hub for a once-thriving potato crop leading to Hastings being labeled as “The Potato Capital of Florida.”

The entire community was always fully involved in the Christmas parade. Locals joked that “the entire town was in the parade.”  Sure, many of the locals are still in the parade itself. But in 2017, there was an estimated 700 people who lined the parade route to watch the stream of holiday happenings.

To make the event even more special  this year, hot chocolate, cider and baked goods will be offered as the parade is about to begin the morning of December 8.