Parade of Lights 2017 Santa

Santa makes his appearance during the 2017 Parade of Lights on Nov. 25 in downtown Champaign. He and the parade are returning on Nov. 27 this year.

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CHAMPAIGN — The Parade of Lights will return to downtown Champaign on Thanksgiving weekend.

The Champaign Center Partnership announced plans Friday for the return of the parade Nov. 27 and encouraged groups planning to enter a float to sign up early.

The annual parade of lights this year is coming with pre-parade activities, including horse-and-carriage rides, a candy crawl for kids, visits with Santa Claus and musical entertainment, the organization said.

Downtown Champaign will also be illuminated in hues of blue for the holiday season to go along with this year’s Elvis Presley-inspired “Blue Christmas/holidays” theme.

Champaign Center Partnership Executive Director Xander Hazel said kids and adults will also be able to make mini-floats, like those in last year’s shoebox parade, which was held virtually. This year, the mini floats will be part of a competition and display downtown along with the live parade, he said.

Float registration fees will be lowest for those signing up by Oct. 31, and registration will end Nov. 19 or when parade capacity is reached, the organization said.

The agency is also looking for nearly 100 volunteers to help with this year’s Parade of Lights.

Those wishing to volunteer or register a float should go to Champaign Center.com.

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