Parade on Thursday to kick off holidays in Danville

DANVILLE — The annual Night of Lights parade will kick off the holiday season in downtown Danville on Thursday night.

The after-dark parade features lighted floats and other parade entries with holiday themes. It starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of Williams and North Vermilion streets and travels south on North Vermilion to Main Street then west half a block to the David S. Palmer Arena, where Provena United Samaritans Medical Center Foundation's Festival of Trees event is taking place.

After the parade, the winning floats and Santa in his sleigh will arrive at the festival, which will be open 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. Visitors can watch an ice sculptor carve a design in a block of ice. Admission to the festival is free that night to anyone who brings a donation of non-perishable food items.

Downtown Danville, Inc. officials encourage parade entrants who have not yet picked up their parade-entry packets to get them at the DDI office, 149 N. Vermilion St., between 9 a.m. and noon or 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The parade is sponsored by DDI, Downtown Danville Rotary, Provena USMC Foundation and Vermilion Chevrolet Buick GMC.

Leading off this year's parade will be three grand marshals who have made a positive difference in the community by supporting various events and volunteering.

The grand marshals will be Dave Warga, general manager of Vermilion Chevrolet Buick GMC, whose business is the sponsor for the evening's festivities; Downtown Danville Rotary President Jennifer Dixson, who is the executive director of the Danville Symphony Orchestra; and Patricia Bowers, who volunteers many hours to various organizations, including DDI, Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Fischer Theatre, the Festival of Trees and more.

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