Smile Politely

The 20th Annual Parade of Lights will be virtual this year

How does a virtual parade work exactly? With miniature shoebox sized floats. Here is the press release from Champaign Center Partnership:

There’s no place like home for the holidays – a classic holiday tune that will ring true this holiday season. On Saturday, November 28, the 20th annual Parade of Lights will be virtual so that families can enjoy the parade together from the comfort and safety of their homes. The parade theme is Home for the Holidays and presented by Christie Clinic, the title sponsor.

Here’s how a virtual parade will work: floats will be miniaturized to the size of a shoebox. Businesses, organizations, and civic groups that normally enter the parade will be able to showcase their crafting skills and creativity during what will be a unique and fun adaptation for this community event. The parade will be recorded and produced by Shatterglass Studios in downtown Champaign. This year’s emcees will be the effortlessly funny Andrew Schiver and Lindsey Gates Markel of CU Broad Comedy. The parade video will be released online on November 28 for families to watch from home.

“The Parade of Lights kicks off the holiday season and falls on ‘Small Business Saturday’,” said Xander Hazel, executive director of the Champaign Center Partnership. “The shoebox parade will be just as festive, but significantly cuter this year. We’re also planning the Hometown Holiday Shop & Stroll to offer post-parade fun for the whole family — stay tuned for more information!”

Businesses, organizations, clubs and civic groups are encouraged to sign up to enter the parade as space is limited. Entry of floats is $10 for businesses and organizations registered by October 30. All parade entries must include lights and must be no more than 16 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 12 inches tall.

If your business or organization would like to help make the holiday magic possible, please consider sponsoring the parade. Sponsorship opportunities are available at

The Parade of Lights float entry form and sponsorship packets are available at For more information, please contact the Champaign Center Partnership at 217-352-2400.

Top photo by Lea Peck.

Staff writer

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