SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A search around KELOLAND reveals that several communities celebrate the holiday season with holiday light parades or light displays in a local park.
Some happened over Thanksgiving weekend but others are happening in December.
This parade doesn’t require any walking from participants, it’s the annual Standstill Parade of Lights in Vermillion. The parade is slated for 6 – 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, in historic downtown Vermillion, according to the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Corporation.
Attendees can walk and check out floats and watch Santa Claus officially light the Vermillion Christmas Tree.
Businesses will also be providing hot chocolate or cider and treats to those viewing the standstill floats in the downtown, said Melissa Eberts of the chamber and development corporation.
“It’s a big tree. It will be very hard to miss,” Eberts said.
The tree is near the intersection of Main Street and Market Street. It is lit through the month of December.
Yankton will have its Holiday Festival of Lights on Thursday, Dec. 1. The Holiday Festival Parade of Lights starts at 6 p.m. It’s followed by the tree lighting head to the Meridian Bridge Plaza and fireworks, according to the city of Yankton. The holiday activities are in the Meridian District and start a 4 p.m.
On Friday, Dec. 2, its the Annual Sturgis Parade of Lights. The parade is slated to start at 6 and end at 7:30 p.m, according to the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce. The annual parade is more than 14 blocks long. The night before, Sturgis has its annual Tree Lighting ceremony near the corner of Main Street and Harley-Davidson Way (2nd Street). That is from 6 – 7 p.m.
Custer’s annual Christmas Parade is in its 33rd year. This year’s parade is at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. The event also includes a Memorial Tree Lighting, according to the Custer Area Chamber.
The KJAM parade of lights in Madison starts after the 5:30 p.m. lighting of the Christmas Tree on Saturday, Dec. 3. The parade starts on Egan Avenue and ends at the stop lights.
A week later, it’s Hometown Christmas in Garretson. The Garretson Commercial Club sponsors this event on Saturday, Dec. 10.
The annual parade of lights starts at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” commercial club president Garrick Moritz said of the parade and a full day of events.
The day includes a community meal, horse and buggy rides and activities for kids.
Residents and visitors will still get to see lights in Garretson when the parade is over as the commercial club sponsors a holiday lighting contest.
“Some families go all out,” Moritz said. And overall, the competition is pretty stiff, he said.
For those who hate winter, Wessington may be the place to be on Saturday, Dec. 10. The theme for the annual parade is “I hate winter,” according to the Wessington Chamber of Commerce.
The parade starts at 6 p.m. The event also includes a chili feed and meeting Santa.
The Thanksgiving weekend came with a bunch of holiday parades and lighting ceremonies.
The Holiday Lighted Parade in Watertown has been a tradition for 25 years, said Kay Solberg, one of the organizers of the annual event.
Interest has remained steady from attendees and participants, Solberg said. “We usually have 32 to 35 entries. This year we have 41 entries,” she said.
The annual parade is 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25.
Solberg estimates the annual parade crowd at 4,000 to 5,000 people.
The parade concludes with fireworks
About 10 years ago, the local Optimist Club decided to add a Winter Wonderland light display at Stokes Thomas Lake City Park. The light display starts on Saturday, Nov. 26, and continues on weekends 6 – 9 p.m. through Dec. 25.
Solberg said parade entries can bring their entries to a reserved spot in the light display at the park.
Solberg said she doesn’t have any particular favorite floats. She does however admire a local snowmobile group’s efforts to continually make its floats bigger and better.
She does have some advice for current and future parade entries. When they test the lights out in a dark garage, the float may look very bright, but when it’s on a city street, it won’t be as bright. Solberg’s advice: add more lights. “Put on five or more rows of lights,” she said.
A holiday tradition that’s at least 28 years long is the annual Holiday Parade of Lights in Huron, said Laurie Shelton, the president and CEO of the Huron Chamber of Commerce. The parade is at 7 p.m. Friday.
The parade route is about two miles long and runs through the heart of downtown Huron from Market Street to 21st Street on Dakota Avenue.
Shelton said about 39 entries will participate in this year’s parade. Like Watertown, there’s at least a two package holiday activity.
City residents started Christmas Lanes back in 1962. It was an event in which residents on one street decorated with a theme for Christmas. The interest spread to several streets. Shelton said interest decreased some over the years as new homeowners didn’t take to the tradition. But now, there is revitalized interest, she said.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving is the day for the Brandon’s holiday light parade. The parade starts at 6 p.m.
“It’s been one of the biggest holiday events in Brandon,” said Rachel Polan of the Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber works with the local VFW who is the official sponsor of the parade, Polan said.
Saturday is also the day for parades in two northwest Iowa towns.
Sibley’s parade of lights starts at 5:30 p.m. on 9th Street on Saturday, Nov. 26, according to the town’s chamber of commerce Facebook page.
Sheldon’s holiday parade of lights is also at 5:30 p.m. that Saturday, according to the Sheldon Chamber and Development Corporation. The theme is Home for the Holidays!
Sunday,Nov. 27, Santa and Mrs. Claus roll into Luverne, Minnesota.The Christmas couple will be riding on red engine from Ellis and Eastern Railroad. The Clauses will make stops in Adrian, Rushmore and Magnolia before stopping in Luverne at 4:30 p.m. The event is part of a holiday event that includes fireworks and the official opening for the light display at the city park.
The local chamber and visitors bureau has been organizing the light display for several years, said chamber director Jane Lanphere.
“It’s grown,” Lanphere said of the light display. The community interest is high and the city’s public works helps with power and lighting and the local fire department makes sure a large Christmas tree gets lit, Lanphere said.
The chamber posted security cameras last year and used that to count vehicles passing through the display. Lanphere said they stopped counting at more than 6,000.
Last year, chamber employee Amber Lais suggested they light the portion of the new 15-mile bike path that passes through the park. The pair installed 1,900 feet of rope lights last year. This year, volunteers helped install those lights.
The Santa train was developed by an official from Ellis and Eastern Railroad, Lanphere said.
“It’s just a wonderful free event,” Lanphere said. The kids are very excited to see the red train engine and Santa and Mrs. Claus, she said.