Parade of Lights returning to Mitchell Main Street

Prizes to be awarded for best use of lights, theme


The annual Parade of Lights event will return to Mitchell’s Main Street Tuesday, bringing festive floats and holiday cheer to area residents.

“We’re finishing up the lineup today,” said Mitchell Main Street and Beyond Director Ashley Endres on Monday, which organizes the event.

The event, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, will see a number of floats make their way down Main Street from First to Ninth Avenue. The annual parade features many floats based on a Christmas holiday theme constructed by area businesses and civic organizations. The theme for the parade this year is “A Storybook Christmas.”

The parade has been held for several years and always serves as a festive occasion that helps kick off the Christmas season, Endres said. She said there are currently 24 floats registered to take part, which is down from the usual 30 to 40 floats that have taken part in the past.

“We have about 24 floats, and the final one is Santa, which is pretty good for the situation,” Endres said.


There was some concern among organizers on whether to hold the event in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Endres said they eventually decided to go ahead with the parade, seeing as it is an outside event and there should be plenty of opportunity to maintain social distancing.

“We really wanted to have it, but we contemplated,” Endres said. “We went back and forth, but knowing it’s an outdoor event and we have plenty of blocks on Main Street — the parade goes nine or 10 blocks and there is plenty of room to spread out and sit in their own vehicles.”

Despite the outdoor setting, Endres said those in attendance will be encouraged to practice standard COVID-19 safety procedures, such as social distancing and adhering to the city mask mandate where required. There should be plenty of space for those in attendance to watch the parade from their vehicle, which should also help minimize transmission risk.

“We just want them to know that they can spread out. There are blocks that don’t have people on them. Just make space,” Endres said.

Prizes will be awarded to a pair of floats based on judging criteria. Endres said the floats will receive a plaque for the best use of lights and the best use of theme. Previous years saw the winning floats receive a certificate but that was upgraded thanks to a local sponsorship, Endres said.

Endres said she hopes the event will provide a nice distraction for people who have been wanting to get out of the house more since the pandemic. There will be plenty of Christmas spirit on hand on Main Street Tuesday, and folks should make their way down for a show of lights and holiday festivities.

The event is preceded by the annual Christmas at the Palace event, which runs from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Corn Palace.

More information is available by calling Mitchell Main Street and Beyond at 990-4500.

Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at
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