Parade of Lights is Monday
Now that Thanksgiving is behind us for another year, the community of Detroit Lakes is gearing up to kick off the Christmas season with the annual Santa's Grand Parade of Lights.
The holiday parade gets underway at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29 -- yes, tomorrow -- on Washington Avenue, proceeding from City Park north to Washington Square Mall.
"The parade is growing," said event organizer Jill Mack. "As of Tuesday morning we had more entries than last year, so hopefully there will be a little bit more to see."
New to the parade this year will be a parade commentator, who will announce each float as it comes up the street, as well as providing some information about upcoming holiday events in the lakes area.
The commentator's booth will be located in the parking lot of Lakes Sport Shop (at the corner of Washington and Frazee Street).
"It's kind of like a play by play," Mack said, adding that there will also be Christmas music playing throughout the parade, also in the Lakes Sport Shop lot.
Before the parade gets underway, however, lakes area residents are invited to join the man in the red suit inside City Park, near the DL Pavilion, for a community bonfire. The bonfire gets underway at 4:30 p.m., and there will be hot chocolate and cookies served.
After the bonfire, Santa will jump on his float, which is to be the last in the parade, then stop at the mall for Photos and Wishes with Santa from 6 to 8 p.m.
The parade is expected to last approximately 30 to 60 minutes, after which there will be the traditional tree lighting ceremony in front of the Detroit Lakes Library.
For many years, the tree lighting ceremony was handled by Hospice of the Red River Valley, and last year, local 4-H members took over temporarily. This year, the Becker County chapter of the American Cancer Society will be doing the honors.
"This is our first year, so we're taking things easy," said tree lighting organizer Lori Bachmann.
The guest speaker will be Detroit Lakes City Alderman Ron Zeman, who is also a vice president with Norby's Department Store.
"He will tell his story of how the American Cancer Society helped him during his battle with cancer," Bachmann said. "A minister will give the prayer, and then we will light the tree."
Refreshments will be served at Washington Square Mall following the tree lighting, with a free-will offering taken to benefit the American Cancer Society.
The Cancer Society will also be doing a special holiday fundraiser this year.
"We will have a decorated tree at Santa's Village," said Bachmann, noting that the ornaments will be dedicated to loved ones who have been lost to cancer, or who are battling the disease.
The ornaments will be available for purchase at the tree lighting, Bachmann added.