10 Tips for the 28th Annual Parade of Lights

November 25, 2019

It’s officially Parade of Lights week and we’re bringing back these 10 tips! The 28th Annual Parade of Lights presented by First Bank & Trust is a classic downtown Sioux Falls event that’s a tradition for city locals while also bringing visitors from all over the region.  We’ve put together a list of tips that will help with the first-timer or returning parade-goers.  Come downtown this Friday, November 29 at 7:30pm and watch dazzling lights travel down historic Phillips Avenue.  Before you go, make sure to read these 10 Tips for the 28th Annual Parade of Lights.

1. Dress warm

We can’t control the weather but local weathermen are predicting a chilly Thanksgiving Thursday through Friday.  We’ll always recommend to bundle up.  Break out the coats, hats, gloves, blankets, etc. and enjoy the crisp, South Dakota weather!

2. Come early

The parade starts promptly at 7:30pm and we’re expecting a lot of people so get to downtown Sioux Falls before 7:00pm.  Keep in mind street closures begin at 6:45pm on Phillips Avenue.  There’s plenty of parking (but we’ll get to that later) with a variety of activities to do before the parade.  Do some shopping, check out Winter Wonderland, grab a drink or get a bite-to-eat in historical downtown.

3. Park in a ramp

Parking is FREE on the weekends beginning at 5:00pm on Fridays.  Of course you can park in the streets in the surrounding area but prepare to walk.  Use a downtown parking ramps or parking lots with over 2,300 spaces (compared to 1,000 street spaces) and stay close to the parade.  Find parking ramp and locations with this map.  ADA parking is available at the Commerce Center building, 200 N Phillips Avenue.

4.  Find a great viewing spot 

Here’s a couple tips to ensure you’ll have a great spot to view the parade.  Refer to #2 on the list; come early to find spots along the parade route.  Travel to North Phillips Avenue to find the perfect spot; the route goes from 13th Street to 5th Street with plenty of space!  Folding chairs are allowed just be mindful of the many people standing.

5. Bring cash for hot chocolate

Local non-profits will sell hot chocolate for $2 on every block of the parade route, so bring cash and support the community!

6. Watch for the Grand Marshals and Jr. Grand Marshal

The Grand Marshal this year is Parade of Lights Grand Marshal and retired City of Sioux Falls Director of Planning and Development Mike Cooper.  The Junior Grand Marshal is Lincoln High School freshman, Katie Jensen who you may recognize as a devoted volunteer at the Washington Pavilion.  Both of these individuals are excited and have positivity impacted the city of Sioux Falls.  Our tip; give them an enthusiastic wave when you see them!

7. Pick your favorite floats

This is a record-breaking year with over 80 entries in the parade! From classic floats to new entries, keep track of your favorites to find out who will win one of six awards given away. Make sure you’re watching out for floats that participated in the holiday movie theme too! Die Hard is a Christmas movie right?

8. Attend the After Party & Award Ceremony 

Warm up after the parade with FREE cookies and cider at the Parade of Lights After Party & Award Ceremony hosted by the Holiday Inn City Centre.  This event is open to the public and will feature holiday lighting, live music and a cash bar.  And speaking of awards…stick around for the Award Ceremony and to find out if your favorite floats (remember #7) won an award!

9. Be friendly

Like we said before, we’re expecting a lot of people in the downtown area Friday night.  Remember to embrace the holiday spirit and be kind while sharing the area with the community.

10 . Can’t make it?  Watch the Live Stream

In the unfortunate situation that you can’t come to the parade, watch the parade through live stream.  Go to the KELO-TV Home for the Holidays page this Friday at 7:30pm.

11. BONUS TIP: Make memories

The holidays are a chance to make memories and we’re honored you’re doing it in downtown Sioux Falls!  There’s a reason this parade has been around for 28 years and it’s because of this community coming together to celebrate.  Our tip: Take pictures and post to social media with #dtsf and #pol28!  Start (or keep making) a tradition of attending the Parade of Lights.