Gather the kids, bundle up and head downtown this evening for the 22nd annual Festival of Lights Parade.
Among the more than 90 entrants are several newcomers, including Sidekick Comics, Bicycle Co-Op and Dynamic Demons Drum Corps. The Oakes family returns this year with the elf-drawn sleigh from “The Santa Clause,” with the Grinch inside. The Columbus North and Columbus East high school marching bands also will perform.
“The weather looks like it’s going to be pleasant,” said Joyce Lucke, parade planning committee member. “We’re really anticipating a great parade.”
Following the same route as years’ past, the parade starts at Jackson and Eighth streets. After turning south on Washington Street, it will make its way past the judges’ stand at Third Street before winding back around to Brown Street.
Lucke says almost anywhere along the route is a good place to view the parade.
“The only thing we ask is everyone be mindful of staying safe,” Lucke said. “Some of the floats require quite a bit of room, especially when turning. So we ask everyone to please be safe and stay on the curbs out of the way.”
Mayor Kristen Brown and Ann Stevens, who donated this year’s tree, will join Santa in front of City Hall between 8 and 8:30 p.m. for the official lighting of the city’s Christmas tree. Cupcakes and hot cider will be provided by the city.
Fireworks are scheduled to wrap up the evening’s festivities.
With a number of events going on downtown this evening, parking will be at a premium. Lucke recommends arriving before 5 p.m., when the streets are scheduled to shut down for parade preparation.
“We typically suggest they park east and north of downtown,” Lucke said.
Parking garages on Second and Fourth streets are available for public parking. County lots on the north and south sides of the Bartholomew County Jail also will be available. The Republic’s lot on Second Street also will be open to the public.
ColumBUS routes will shut down between 5 and 7 p.m. Limited routes will resume immediately after the parade. Individuals needing a ride should report to the bus station in front of Mill Race Center.