LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Folks in Lakeland started putting chairs out before sunrise to make sure they secured a good spot for the annual Christmas Parade.

Usually residents put chairs out days in advance, tying them to light posts, signs, and anything else they can find, to hold their spot.

This year, city officials asked people to hold off until parade day on Thursday.

With the exception of a few, most residents obeyed.

Thursday morning before sunrise, the rush was on.

Gary Crouse travels from Michigan just to see the parade in his hometown. This year he set his alarm for 4 a.m. to put out chairs near the judges.

“My sister got out here first every year. This year she was nervous, but we got here early. We wanted at midnight but we waited until 4. It’s easier to get up early than it is to stay up late,” laughed Crouse.

Other residents showed up throughout Thursday morning, as the parade route quickly filled up with chairs.

Spokesperson Kevin Cook with the City of Lakeland said they only had to remove four chairs ahead of the parade.

The parade kicks off in Downtown Lakeland on Thursday with a fireworks display over Lake Mirror at 7 PM.

The parade leaves the RP Funding Center at 7 PM and winds the streets of Downtown Lakeland.