Rapid City gears up for annual Festival of Lights Parade

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 7:32 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Christmas music, twinkling lights, and Santa Claus are things that make a Christmas parade complete.

But, a lot of behind-the-scenes work is done to ensure things go off without a hitch.

With Rapid City’s 24th annual Festival of Lights Parade happening Saturday, the city is focused on the final preparations.

“In total, I think I have about 25 people, 25 different positions that need to be filled to be able to block this parade off, make it safe for the public, and make things go as smoothly as we can possibly make them go for the public that is trying to get around the parade,” said Wayne Asscherick, special operations coordinator for the Rapid City Police Department.

With thousands of spectators expected, it’s essential to know where you’re going when heading downtown Saturday night.

“Use Mount Rushmore road because, basically, we are blocking from 7th Street all the way down to East St. Patrick and East St. Joseph Streets. So, there’s no way to get around the parade by going to the east,” said Asscherick.

Be mindful that roads will be packed, as floats will start arriving early for the main event.

The pressure is on for one local business, as they won the “Seasons Brightest-Best Use of Lights” award last year.

“We have to we have to bring it, absolutely. There have been laughs, a ton of duct tape, lights, extension cords, and everything that goes into being a part of the Parade of Lights,” said Lynn Kendall, community affairs manager for Black Hills Energy.

The team has worked all month to ensure their float stands out from the crowd.

“My favorite thing on the truck would be the nutcrackers we got, they are really unique and they light up bright and have dancing lights so that’s probably my favorite,” said Anna Benitez, Black Hills Energy’s float manager.

The Festival of Lights Parade will be held in downtown Rapid City Saturday, Nov. 26 starting at 6 pm.

For the map of the parade route, click here.