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A big dose of Christmas will roll through downtown Saturday in the form of a parade and a Christmas village.
Parade chairman Joyce Lucke offered the following overview of an event that draws thousands.
What: 23rd annual Old National Bank Festival of Lights Parade
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Also: Free Christmas Village at The Commons, 300 Washington St., beginning at 1 p.m. until the parade finishes. Includes model trains, gingerbread village, ornament activities from kidscommons children’s museum, and children’s activities from Columbus Parks and Recreation Department. Entertainment includes a hand bell choir, carolers, a magic show and other performers.
Parade route: Downtown. Begins at Eighth and Brown streets. It then heads east on Eighth, turns right on Washington, turns right on Third Street, right on Brown Street to the ending at Brown and Fifth streets.
Entries: 104, including three marching bands; Scouts; floats representing clubs, organizations, churches and businesses; police and fire departments; and even dogs from the city’s Animal Care Services.
Lead float: Grand Marshal Caroline Andress, a Southside Elementary School fifth-grader, chosen as the winner of QMIX’s fireworks poster contest.
Last float: Santa Claus
Duration: About two hours
Afterward: Thomasson, Thomasson, Long and Guthrie QMIX Christmas Musical Fireworks, tentatively scheduled between 8 and 8:30 p.m. About 20 minutes in length.
Forecast: Temperatures in the mid-20s and clear
Heaviest parade crowd: In front of The Commons, 300 block of Washington Street
A lighter area with good viewing: Farther north about Eighth and Washington streets
Best parking to get in/out: Anywhere east of Franklin Street or north of Eighth and Washington. That’s because streets in and around the parade area will remain clogged or closed at least an hour after the completion for destaging.
Snow or no snow: The Festival of Lights Parade through downtown Columbus is expected to go on as scheduled, even if there’s snow. However, if the parade route cannot be adequately cleared, an announcement will be made through local media outlets by noon Saturday, parade committee chairwoman Joyce Lucke said. Bands may opt to not participate if directors feel inclement weather might damage musical instruments or uniforms. Parade updates are expected to be posted this afternoon through Saturday at the parade website: paragonme.net/folparade. For additional information on the parade, call 390-6912.
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