Smile Politely

14th annual Parade of Lights returns to Downtown Champaign November 29th

From the Champaign Center Partnership press release: 


The holiday season can’t begin until Santa makes his way through the streets of Downtown Champaign. The Champaign Center Partnership is once again thrilled to bring you the 14th annual Parade of Lights on November 29th!

This community favorite features floats, marching bands, and Santa Claus himself and concludes with a tree lighting ceremony at One Main Plaza. But we need the community’s support and participation to make this year’s parade a success and a destination event for our out of town guests! Design a float for your business or organization and show it off in the streets of Downtown Champaign on November 29th. Or gather a group to walk, dance or sing your way through the parade route. Just remember: all parade entries must have lights on them. This year’s theme is Winter Wonderland.

“Last year we opted not to have a theme,” Champaign Center Partnership Executive Director, Erin Lippitz said. “We felt that it was a bit too limiting and wanted our entrants to really stretch their creative minds. But we found that people really did want have some parameters when decorating their floats. This year’s theme is broad enough to encompass all kinds of ideas. And we have a few themed surprises of our own too!”

Float entries will be judged  prior to the parade in three categories: Best Use of Theme, Judges Favorite and Best Use of Lights. The winners will be given a large ribbon to hang on their floats and will be announced during the parade by the emcee.

Pre-parade entertainment will once again begin at 5 p.m. prior to the parade and will include hot chocolate stations, musical performances, a kids craft, caroling and photo opportunities with special guests.

“The pre-parade entertainment is something we really expanded last year to encourage crowds to visit our downtown businesses. It was a huge success so we’re expanding it even more this year and hopefully adding some post-parade entertainment too,” Lippitz said.

Find a parade entry form and route map at Pre-parade entertainment will be added to the website as it is scheduled. For more information, call the Champaign Center Partnership office at 352-2400.

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