Downtown Arlington may be highly visible Saturday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. as the annual Holiday Lights Parade makes its way along the parade route. Marching bands, vintage cars and unicycles will weave between illuminated floats to the delight of an expected 15,000 spectators.
“This looks to be one of the largest parades we’ve had in some time — we are expecting nearly 100 entries,” said Scott Reading, who is directing the parade along with Elle Stubbs.
The parade is anchored by a festival that offers reindeer games, entertainment at the Levitt, and a tree-lighting ceremony at City Hall. The movie “Elf” will be shown on the Levitt screen at 7:15 p.m. while kids chat with Santa on the Levitt stage.
“We are so excited to welcome back several returning performers including Miss Persis and the Elf Show, Plato’s Theory and the Arlington Master Chorale performing Handel’s “Messiah.” Join us from 2-5 for another amazing year of pre-parade festivities,” said Misty Lockhart from the parade committee.
A new route this year has the parade stepping off at the corner of Lampe and South streets as it heads eastward to Center Street and turns north to Abram Street. It proceeds westward down Abram to Oak Street, heading northward to Main Street. Then westward on Main turning south on North West Street back to Abram. The parade ends at Abram and Lampe.
“We are extremely excited about a new addition to the Reindeer games,” said Reading. “We will be hosting the largest artificial snowball fight in Arlington’s history. We have over 1,000 artificial snowballs that kids will be able to toss around.”
Dedicated members of the all-volunteer parade committee are Samantha Blackstock, Kristine Behrhorst, William Busby, Russ Greene, Jonathan Januta, Connie Lorick, Geri McNiece, Jerry Miller, Joyce Pinnow, Nicholas Reynolds, Bob Stout and Brian White.
Among the parade entries are the Elegant Princess Diamonds, ages 5-12, who will march along the route with pompoms showing off a few fancy steps that their 50-member dance team has perfected. Joining in the fun is the South Davis Elementary cheer team, led by director April Wren.
A 1930 Franklin club sedan outlined in lights will be driven by Bill Jewell, and Robert Martin will cruise past in his iconic DeLorean. Adding a softer touch will be the vibrant colors and lights from Amor A Nuestra Cultura Ballet Folklorico, who will be performing a dance from Hidalgo, Mexico, called “Tres Colores.”
You don’t often see a bass boat all decked out for Christmas, but that won’t stop those kids from the Martin High fishing team as they show their team pride. The crowd can enjoy a moment of nostalgia when a 1958 Chevy Bel Air and a 1948 Plymouth brought by the Estilo Car Club rolls by.
The folks at MaidPro will bring their NASCAR-inspired bright blue vehicle topped by a lighted Christmas tree and surrounded by staff members in holiday costumes. The crowd will react favorably to those expertly trained dogs from K-9 Direction as they frolic along the route. And back again are the World Famous Wheelie-ing Elvi riding their vintage mini-motorcyles doing crazy stunts that never fail to animate the crowd.
Put on your shades when the SPJST Youth Lodge float passes by with 3,500 LEDs featuring a group of fun-loving emojis all set up for Christmas. Another crowd-pleaser are those folks from aRoundJoy that somehow keep their special LED-lighted hoops spinning continuously as they walk and twirl their way along the route.
Never failing to steal the show is the show truck from Tarrant Auto Crimes Task Force. This unique entry is a truck assembled in 1995 using parts from 11 different stolen pickups recovered and awarded to the task force.
The holidays in Arlington will officially begin following the parade when Santa and Mayor Jeff Williams flip the switch to light the beautiful 50-foot blue spruce from Michigan in front of City Hall.
Many families will scope out their favorite spot along the route and set up chairs early before heading out to the festival activities. Check out www.HolidayLightsParade.com to determine the best plans for your family on this special night.