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Lighted Christmas Parade: What It Is & How to Find One

Lighted Christmas float in parade

A lighted Christmas parade is a festive and inspiring way to celebrate the holiday season. Many places around the world feature this type of holiday parade, which brings together people of all ages to enjoy the sights and sounds.

What is a Lighted Christmas Parade?

A lighted Christmas parade is exactly what it sounds like: a parade of floats, cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and even people decorated with hundreds of strings of lights. Part of the fun of a lighted parade is seeing the new and unique ways that lights can be used to decorate the vehicles and attractions.

Often, the entire town gets into the spirit. Local parks, businesses, and other establishments decorate with Christmas lights as well, making the entire scene a breathtaking sight.

Lighted Christmas parades almost always take place at night, so that the effect of all the lights can be experienced to the fullest. The street lights are dimmed as well for this purpose.

Lighted Floats and Attractions

The main focus of a lighted parade are the floats, which are very creative and use lights to illustrate a variety of holiday themes and stories. Some common themes on these floats include:

The lights provide a visually stunning float, but it's the creative ways that these lights are used to portray the themes that really makes them interesting. Some people use the light garlands to decorate objects on the floats, while other people painstakingly create an entire scene from wire shapes draped in lights.

Lighted Truck and Boat Parades

Lighted holiday parades have branched off and inspired some niche ideas, including the lighted truck parade. Instead of floats, trucks of all shapes and sizes are decorated in garlands of lights and sent out on parade.

From transport trucks to construction vehicles, no truck is too big or too small for festive decorations! It takes hours to string the lights on these trucks, and the result is fascinating. Imagine, for example, a cement mixer, with its gigantic drum covered in swirls of multi-colored lights. The beauty of the truck parade lies in the contradiction between big, clunky vehicles and tiny, intricate lights.

Where there is a waterway or shore nearby, some cities and towns have arranged lighted boat parades. Boats, both commercial and personal, are strung with lights just as floats would be in a regular parade. Sometimes the boats actually do present a moving parade for spectators, while elsewhere they are simply docked for viewing.

Lighted Christmas Parade Photos

If you've never been to a lighted Christmas parade and would like to see what they look like, there are some beautiful photos available online to view. Here are some that you may enjoy:

  • Redding, California - There are a lot of lovely lighted floats in this parade, which took place in 2005. You'll also see how some people incorporated lights into their own costumes.
  • Island Equipment Owners Association - The photos here are from a lighted truck parade, showing how well the lights show up on huge vehicles.
  • Portland, Oregon - This is a Christmas ship parade, which features lighted boats decorated with seasonal themes.

How to Find Lighted Holiday Parades

To find out if your community holds a lighted Christmas parade, there are several places you can look. Here are some to try:

  • Check local newspapers as the holiday season begins for advertisements and details.
  • Call your city hall or town council.
  • Search online for your local city, town, or county website.
  • Try this list from Wikipedia, which includes holiday parades in the U.S. and Canada.

If your community doesn't hold a lighted seasonal parade, consider looking at nearby locations that you could travel to easily to enjoy the festivities.

Lighted Christmas Parade: What It Is & How to Find One