Pat Owens waves after handing out candy

Pat Owens waves to a car after handing out candy near the American Legion Post 218 float during the Reverse Parade of Lights Friday, Nov. 27. The theme of this year's parade was "Christmas in Toyland."

More than 500 cars are estimated to have driven through the streets of downtown Washington Friday night to see this year’s Holiday Lights Parade.

A traditional holiday parade was deemed too risky given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, so organizers created a “reverse parade,” in which families drove their cars through downtown to see 20 parked floats.

“I would say it was a huge success,” said Tyler King, executive director for Downtown Washington Inc., which organized the event.

“We were happy to bring holiday cheer to families,” King said. “And happy to do something that allowed people to spend time with their families.” 

The holiday parade has been a Washington tradition for the last 21 years.

This year’s theme was Christmas in Toyland, with floats stationed on Lafayette, Second, West Main, Jefferson and Oak streets. Three floats were judged best decorated. The first-place winner was Route 66 Realtors, second place went to Bank of Washington and placing third was River City Signs.

Small Business 


Downtown Washington Inc. also spread holiday cheer this past weekend by selling value cards to help support local businesses on Small Business Saturday.

The cards, which cost $10 and are good for one year, offered special one-time only deals for 18 different businesses downtown.  

Businesses included on the card were 514 Chop House, Beautiful Journey, Envy, Gary R. Lucy Gallery, I.B. Nuts and Fruit Too, Missouri Meerschaum Co., Modern Auto, Modern Vintage, Neighborhood Reads, Olivino, Plush Home and Fashion, Scudder & Co. Coffee on Main, Washington Academy of Music, Vintage Trader, Vino di Lafayette, underGrounds Espresso Bar, Tilted Skillet and the Painted Home. 

King said between the Downtown Post Office and the Downtown Washington Inc. station on Main Street, 50 cards were sold. Participating businesses also sold the value cards, although the number they sold was unavailable as of press time. 

“Everyone was super excited and it was a cool idea to focus on downtown businesses,” King said, adding the organization is planning to roll out a similar promotion next year.