Local residents and visitors from around the state took part in the 73rd annual Frankfort Christmas Parade and tree lighting ceremony at the Capitol Saturday.

“On behalf of the City of Frankfort, I just want to say how special it is to have a proper Christmas parade again,” said Mayor Layne Wilkerson. “Tonight we’re taking it up a notch because we’re collaborating with the Commonwealth of Kentucky to combine our ceremony with the official state Christmas Tree lighting.”

Wilkerson said it was one of the biggest crowds he has seen for a Christmas parade in Frankfort, and he hopes the tradition continues. Last year's parade was a drive-thru event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Andy Beshear said his message for Kentuckians is “Merry Christmas,” asking citizens to remember what it is all about. 

“It’s about compassion. It’s about loving our neighbors. It’s about remembering everybody counts, everyone is important and to be the best Kentuckians we can be,” he said. 

The governor said the numbers of people who came out to attend the parade and tree lighting was also nice to see. 

“It was great! The energy, the Christmas spirit, the hundreds of people that were here enjoying the Capitol grounds. It was really special being able to see Frankfort out, and I think everybody had a really great time.”

Beshear said many people worked hard to help make the parade and tree lighting ceremony happen, noting Cap City Communications, the City of Frankfort, the Frankfort Police Department, Frankfort Fire Department, Frankfort Emergency Management and more. 

“We gotta thank Commonwealth Credit Union. We gotta thank the Frankfort Plant Board for putting us on TV,” he said. “We want to thank our food trucks. We gotta thank every single state employee that made this happen. Finally, we gotta thank Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and all their helpers.”

Beshear said it is a special season to remember what values Kentuckians hold, and how much “we care about and love one another.”

“This season is when we recommit to being really good people, and I gotta tell you, because we are good people, this Commonwealth is on a roll,” he said. 

With his gift being the shortest speech he said he has ever given, Beshear invited Santa to the podium to help light the state Christmas Tree, helping Frankfort and Franklin County kick off the season.

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