Parade of Lights brings Christmas spirit to downtown Mitchell

And the winners are ...

Nearly 30 floats make their way down North Main Street in Mitchell for the annual Mitchell Parade of Lights on Tuesday night. This year's theme is “A Storybook Christmas.” (Matt Gade / Republic)

As brightly lit floats speckled in Christmas ornaments made their way down Main Street on Tuesday night, the Mitchell community came together to usher in the holiday season.

While this year’s Parade of Lights welcomed 27 floats, judges were tasked with picking two winners. Taking home the Best Use of Lights award was the Holland Family float, which was a crowd favorite, as it had many attendees cheering it on. For the Best Use of theme award, the Lee Family claimed the title.

Annual Mitchell Parade of Lights

The Holland Family’s float stood out with its bright lights and reindeer soaring above, while the Lee Family float was steeped in the Christmas theme with Santa’s elves and Ms. Claus waving.

After battling through the pandemic this year, Ashley Endres, executive director of Mitchell Main Street and Beyond, hoped the event brought Christmas joy and a sense of normalcy. With the strong showing of attendance and excitement from the crowd, the event was successful in bringing joy to the community.


“I am so thankful we were able to host the Parade of Lights with how this past year has gone,” Endres said. “With this event, it signifies the beginning of Christmas and is a memory that many kids won’t forget. We’re thankful for bringing that sense of normalcy and Christmas festivity.”

Prior to the event, kids got a chance to see "Mater" from the Disney movie Cars. Marty Vlasman, founder of Cruisin’ for a Cause, transformed a 1946 truck into a replica of "Mater," which was a kid favorite.

As Vlasman drove "Mater" through downtown Mitchell, kids in attendance lit up at the sight of the notorious truck.

“It’s all about the kids, and I thought this was a great way to get creative with the parade,” Vlasman said. “Being able to bring the Christmas spirit is more important this year than ever with everything that we have all been through.”

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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