The Christmas season officially kicks off this Friday in Downtown Washington with the annual Holiday Parade of Lights.
The “lighted” parade will get under way at 6 p.m., beginning and ending at the Main and Elm streets parking lot.
This year’s theme is Christmas at the Movies.
Sponsored by Downtown Washington Inc., the parade will feature about 50 entries, including the Washington and St. Francis Borgia Regional High School marching bands.
Bridge Lutheran Church also will have live music on its float, one of many sponsored by local businesses and churches.
“We are excited about the lineup and have several new entries,” said Alex Hodschayan, event coordinator.
“We also have many walking groups, including a dog group, antique cars, along with the floats,” he said.
American Legion Post 218 will carry the colors.
Maryville University’s St. Bernard mascot and Lindenwood University’s Leo the Lion mascot will be in the parade, along with a Knight riding on horseback from St. Francis Borgia Regional High School, and the Grinch, sponsored by Washington Lumber.
A highlight of the parade will be Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will help Mayor Sandy Lucy turn the lights on the large Christmas tree at the corner of Main and Elm streets.
The Mayor’s Tree Lighting, now in its fourth year, will take place immediately after the parade.
The tree was set up last week in the same spot as the fountain. The tree has been decorated, but the lights will not go on until after the parade.
After the lighting, Santa will greet children under the Farmers’ Market.
The corporate sponsor of the parade this year is the Bank of Washington.
There will be two judging categories: nonprofit and business/individual.
The top winners in the nonprofit division will receive a trophy and the first-place entry will receive $100. Trophies will be presented to the top three winners in the business/individual division. Entries can choose not to be judged.
The parade will begin at the corner of Main and Cedar streets.
It will travel south on Cedar Street; east on Fifth Street; north on Elm Street; east on Second Street; north on Jefferson Street; and west on Main Street, ending near the Farmers’ Market.
This is the same route as in past years.
For more information, people may call the downtown office, 636-239-1743.