FORT WORTH — With over 30 years of tradition, the annual Chesapeake Energy Parade of Lights is trying something new this year.We’re talking trash. Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives and the Tarrant County Regional Water District are joining to start a Reverse Litter campaign at the parade, which will draw tens of thousands of people Friday evening to downtown Fort Worth. “We want it to be the cleanest holiday parade in America,” said Claire Bloxom Armstrong, spokeswoman for Downtown Fort Worth Initiatives. Volunteers will pass out about 5,000 small litter bags to the public before the 6 p.m. parade and then collect the bags again at the end of the parade, said Chad Lorance, communications manager for the water district. Lorance said the program encourages paradegoers to dispose of their own trash instead of leaving it for someone else. “Reverse litter is definitely a community program. We want people to take ownership in their community,” he said.The effort at the parade is part of a Reverse Litter campaign that includes Arlington, Dallas, Denton, Fort Worth, Mansfield and the water district. The campaign encourages residents to pick up 10 pieces of trash each Tuesday. A booth on the anti-litter program will be in the XTO Energy Holiday Fun Zone before the parade, where people can learn about the Ten on Tuesday campaign. Area residents can pledge to participate in the Ten on Tuesday campaign at reverselitter.com/tenontuesday.Besides keeping the streets litter free, “all the drains in downtown Fort Worth end up in the Trinity River, so it is a much cleaner and better way to make sure our waterways stay clean,” Armstrong said.Started in 1983, the initial Parade of Lights featured 25 floats and 25,000 people in attendance. Now the parade has over 100 floats and attracts between 100,000 and 200,000 people to downtown, according to the website.The theme of this year’s parade, “Our Christmas Traditions,” will be reflected in the floats.Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead and his wife, Kim, will be grand marshals. Those attending will also notice that the lights on thet Sundance Square Christmas tree have already been turned on. In past years the tree was turned on at the parade’s end.Before the parade, the Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa Night of Lights Fitness Walk begins at 5:40 p.m. Participants in the 1.6-mile fitness walk will receive reserved seats in the “walk” section.
Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984 Twitter: @catyhirst