Downtown Tree

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. 23, at 6 p.m. It will start at the corner of Cedar and Main streets.

Entries are being accepted now and will be limited to the first 50, according to Bridgette Kelch, Downtown executive director. The entry fee is $10.

“We always encourage people to get their applications in early,” she said. “Our main requirement is that all entries be decked out in lights — the more the better.”

The parade is open to all businesses, organizations, Scout troops, schools, cheerleaders, bands, dancers, churches, choral groups, civic groups and families.

Entries typically include floats, decorated cars and walking groups — all decorated with lights. Special costumed guests also are expected, as well as marching bands.

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

This year’s theme is The Magic of Christmas.

Kelch said the Holiday Parade of Lights serves as the unofficial kickoff to the Christmas season and always attracts a large number of spectators.

Tree Lighting

After the parade, Mayor Sandy Lucy will join Santa Claus to officially turn on the lights of the large downtown Christmas tree at the corner of Main and Elm streets. The tree was erected Monday by Downtown Washington Inc. volunteers and city workers.

This is the second year for an artificial tree which was purchased using funds from the city’s half-cent capital improvement sales tax.

“It was becoming more difficult to find a real tree that was large enough,” said Kelch. “This tree looks beautiful and will last for many years.”

Parade Route

The parade route is the same as in past years. 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. Santa also will stick around after the tree lighting under the market to greet children.

Optional Judging

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

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

Parade applications are available at the downtown post office or online at downtwashmo.org. For more information, call 636-239-1743.