Since 1984, parade starts at Garden Street and Spring Street and ends at South Palafox Street and Government Street. The Christmas Parade includes local bands from every high school in Escambia County, groups from around the region, and as far away as Houston and New Orleans. The Cox Pensacola Christmas Parade profits go to local high school band booster organizations to assist in the purchasing of uniforms and equipment and funding of travel expenses. Preceding the parade is the popular 1.2 miles Christmas Parade Dash, sponsored by the Pensacola Runners Association. With nearly 400 participants each year, the Dash uses the Cox Pensacola Christmas parade route just prior to the start of the parade. The race begins at 5:00 pm and is a maze through the downtown area lined with thousands of people cheering. The course ends at Plaza Ferdinand where a large candy cane is handed to each finisher.