SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — A long-standing vacation tradition in downtown Sioux Falls returns Friday night.
Last year would have been the 29th Parade of Lights, but it was canceled due to the pandemic.
Soon the festive displays will light up Phillips Avenue again.
From sweeping the trailer to checking the light bulbs, the Sons of Norway’s Sioux Falls pavilion spruce up their float before parading through downtown.
The exhibition highlights Norwegian heritage.
“That paint on the side is rosemaling,” lodge president Michael Paulson said.
Lodge president Michael Paulson said the organization has been part of the Parade of Lights lineup for as long as he can remember, with different generations coming together.
“We usually have people from one year old to 91 years old, so people walking and biking,” Paulson said.
Another familiar sight this year: Catfish Bay and its seasonal spectacle.
“We decorate one of our boats that has twin engines, and the team members are really fighting over who’s going to be in the pyramid, who’s going to climb, stuff like that. And they’re looking forward to it, but we’re having a lot of fun,” said Catfish Bay President and Founder Jim Bruns.
This year’s Parade of Lights will feature over 60 entries.
“There are going to be floaters from the past. We’re bringing back the hot air balloons, the train, Santa of course, but we’re also excited to have new entries this year,” said DTSF Community Outreach Manager Sadie Swier.
Last year, it was difficult for downtown Sioux Falls to dim the lights of holiday tradition.
“We tried internally to create a different format and went to all the companies and stakeholders, working with the city, working with the health department, but ultimately we knew we had to cancel it last year, and so as people come together again, we look forward to having a huge turnout,” Swier said.
In fact, DTSF community outreach manager Sadie Swier said attendance may be up this time around because it was canceled last year.
The event holds a special place in his heart.
“I grew up just outside of Sioux Falls in a little town called Hartford, and we had a family tradition of coming to the Parade of Lights every year. No matter the weather, we would dress up and go out to the Parade of Lights. “said Swier.
Many families return to the Parade of Lights year after year.
The co-owner of Mrs. Murphy’s Irish Gifts, Dick Murphy, opened a shop in the community over 20 years ago.
“The tradition started long before we even opened our store. We would absolutely bring our family to the parade of lights. It has become something of a tradition and an extension of our family gatherings,” said Dick Murphy, co-owner of Mrs Murphy’s Irish Gifts.
“It’s been a wonderful event for nearly 30 years,” Paulson said.
And this decades-old tradition is once again marching into the holiday season.
This year’s Grand Marshal is retired Sioux Falls Public Health Director Jill Franken.
The junior grand marshal is 7-year-old Carter Martens.
The parade begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
If you can’t make it to Phillips Avenue on Friday night, KELOLAND News will broadcast two holiday parades live on November 26 and 27. Click here for more information.