Downtown Washington Inc. is making plans for its annual Holiday Parade of Lights — scheduled for the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The parade will take place Friday, Nov. 24, at 6 p.m. It will start at the corner of Cedar and Main streets.

Entries are being accepted now. Already, about 20 entries have signed up, according to Danielle Grotewiel, one of the organizers.

“Fifty is our max, so we encourage people to get their applications in,” she said. “Our big requirement is that all entries be decked out in lights — the more the better.”

A special guest in the parade this year — courtesy of the Bank of the Washington — will be Fredbird, the St. Louis Cardinals mascot.

Grotewiel said several other characters are checking their schedules to see if they can participate, including Franklin the Falcon, East Central College’s mascot, Bernie the Blue Jay from Washington High School, and the knight from St. Francis Borgia Regional High School.

Ameren’s Louie the Lightning Bug, McGruff the Crime Dog and George Washington are confirmed, she said.

The Arts Council of Washington, known as ACOW, will have a “cow” in the parade and will pull a trailer displaying entries in the Downtown Washington Inc. childrens mural contest.

Grotewiel said she hopes to have both high school marching bands in the parade as well. Other entries will include floats, decorated cars and walking groups — all decorated with lights.

The Washington NJROTC will carry the flags at the beginning of the parade.

“The most important guests will be Santa and Mrs. Claus who will ride in their sleigh atop a special float in the parade,” she said. “They will be the last entry.”

This year’s theme is O’ Christmas Tree in recognition of the new artificial tree purchased for display at the corner of Main and Elm streets. The tree was erected Monday.

“This is the first year for an artificial tree, but it was becoming more difficult to find a real tree that was large enough,” she said. “The tree was purchased using funds form the city’s half-cent capital improvement sales tax. It looks beautiful and it’s something we will use for many years to come.”

Optional Judging

There will be two categories — nonprofit and business/individual — for judging, which is optional.

Prizes will be award for first-, second- and third-place in both categories and the winners will receive a trophy.

Grotewiel said the deadline to enter the parade is Nov. 17. Applications are available at the downtown post office or online at downtwashmo.org.

The parade route is the same as in years past. The parade will wind through the downtown streets starting at Main and Cedar streets.

It will head south on Cedar to Fifth Street; east on Fifth to Elm Street; north on Elm to Second Street; east on Second to Jefferson Street; north on Jefferson to Main Street; and west on Main to Cedar Street.

The parade will officially end in front of the Farmers’ Market, where Santa will be available for photos after the Mayor’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. Mayor Sandy Lucy and Santa Claus will officially turn on the lights on the Christmas tree.

Grotewiel said the parade is a holiday tradition, always attracting a large number of spectators.

“We have a great lineup planned,” she said. “We’re also keeping our fingers crossed for great weather this year.”

For more information about the parade or how to include a float in the lineup, call 636-239-1743 or email assistant@downtownwashmo.org.