Sacramento Santa Parade Saved by Large Donation

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Hundreds of people sat along the sidewalks around the Capitol this morning, to view the 32nd Sacramento Santa Parade.

Organizers said the parade is usually partially sponsored by the Downtown Mall. But with renovations going on this year, they did not sponsor the event. The parade was nearly cancelled when organizers failed to find a sponsor to fill the mall's shoes.

"We tried and tried, and then we tried a Kickstarter campaign," Parade coordinator Laurie Hensley said. "We thought perhaps crowd-funding was the way to go; that wasn't successful."

Many, like the Hignight family, were devastated by the news.

"I was so sad. Christmas won't be the same without it," Katie Hignight said.

She has been coming to the parade since she was a child. She had hoped to bring her husband and five girls to experience what she had done since childhood.

Then, on the day before Thanksgiving, the parade received a $12,000 donation from Western Health Advantage.

"That's when it was kicked it into motion," Hensley said.

Organizers praised the local company for single-handedly saving the parade.

"Because we're local as well, and most of our employees are natives of Sacramento, this parade just feels right. It feels fabulous to give back," Nora Bruce, Communications Director at Western Health Advantage said.

Just when the finances were secured, another hurdle crept up on organizers. Thursday's big storm threatened another cancelation. In the last 32 years, Hensley said the only other time the parade had been canceled were due to strong storms. This made organizers nervous.

Thankfully, Mother Nature was on their side, and the show went on as planned.

"We have to give Santa credit," Hensley joked. "Apparently, he really wanted to be here today. We cannot believe our good fortune in being here on a sunny day. It's amazing."

As for Hignight, she was happy to be able to enjoy the parade with three generations of family.

"Getting to share these traditions with the grandparents and the kids again, it's just been an incredible blessing," she said.

The parade route was shortened this year, due to the Mall's construction. However, 60 groups from all over the region showcased their holiday cheer.

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