Nighttime ‘Holiday in Lights’ Replaces Traditional Parade

By: Betsy Reason

The Times photo by Betsy Reason
In tradition, Santa Claus will be the last entry in the Noblesville Christmas Parade, which this year will be themed “Holiday in Lights” on Dec. 2 and will take place at night.

What does the community think of the City of Noblesville trying something new for the Noblesville Christmas Parade?

You’ve probably heard by now that there will be a Christmas Parade through downtown Noblesville. And that the Christmas Parade will be at night.

At first, I wasn’t so sure about the decision to have a parade at night. I had questions, as others might have, about safety and the darkness. And the fact that the parade will end at a different place than it starts.

This year’s Noblesville Christmas Parade — a Holiday in Lights Parade — will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, through downtown Noblesville. The parade will begin at its usual staging location at Ivy Tech Hamilton County at 16th and Harrison streets, and travel the regular parade route, south on 16th Street and west on Logan Street.Then rather than turning north on Ninth Street, the parade will continue through the downtown Square, cross Logan Street Bridge and pass by the Bridge of Flowers, then turn south on Indiana 19 traveling by the east side of Federal Hill Commons and cross Ind. 32/38 into the Riverview Health overflow lot, where the parade will end.

In 2020, the Noblesville Christmas Parade was canceled due to the pandemic but Santa Tours were offered with Santa and Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen riding through neighborhoods. In 2021, the Santa Tours replaced the Christmas Parade.

The community asked for its parade to return. So the Noblesville Christmas Parade returned in 2022, with nonprofits invited to participate, traveling the parade route through downtown.

Mayor Jensen, who is unopposed running for Mayor a second term in today’s municipal election, is calling his new parade event an “inaugural” evening holiday parade, which means he’s expecting the event to be the first of more yearly evening holiday parades to come.

So, if this year’s Holiday in Lights Parade is a success, expect the parade to continue.

My question about safety has already been addressed by the City. Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency will provide portable light stands to better illuminate the streets along the route. Walkers and anyone in a parade entry without a motorized vehicle are required to wear reflective material or carry glow sticks or wear glow necklaces or bracelets. And there was no mention of candy in the parade.

Being that this year’s parade will feature awards for the best holiday-themed entry, best use of lights and most hometown inspired, I expect Noblesville Preservation Alliance members have already started their design concept for their entry. I have high expectations that after winning every year the People’s Choice award for their creative entries in the Darlington Bed Race to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville, that NPA will be one to watch for in the holiday parade. In tradition, Santa Claus will be the last entry in the parade.

Parade entry is free to nonprofits and youth organizations and $25 for others. Registration deadline is Nov. 27.

Since the parade ends at the Riverview Health overflow lot, one might wonder how participants in the parade will return to their vehicles parked at Ivy Tech. However, the City has announced that a trolley will transport participants back to their vehicles in the Ivy Tech lot. If there are a lot of participants, there might need to be more than one trolley running, otherwise people may get a little cold waiting for a ride.

I shared the news of the Holiday in Lights nighttime parade plans on Facebook, asking for followers to weigh in. Some readers thought the night parade would be a grand idea. “Magical,” “beautiful,” “romantic” and “a nice change” were among the comments. But “cold and dark,” “not best for the youngest kids, dinner and bedtime routines” were also among the comments from those not liking the change. Another said the mayor is “determined to change everything traditional about Noblesville before he leaves office.” (Traditionally, the Christmas Parade was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when Santa officially arrived on the Square at the Santa’s House to hear wish lists)

There are definitely pros and cons (such as no sun to keep walkers warm in the parade) for the new concept, and the logistics of ending the parade at a different location.

But why don’t we wait and see.

When I was in Branson, Mo., several years ago, there was a parade at midnight that everybody came out to watch, and it was beautiful.

The Holiday in Lights Parade is a lovely idea. With lots of decorated entries, and houses and businesses lit up along the way, the parade could be very pretty, reminiscent of a Hallmark movie.

So, why don’t we wait and see. Put it on your calendar.

-Contact Betsy Reason at Contact The Times Editor Betsy Reason at Read the City of Noblesville’s press release announcing the new Noblesville Christmas Parade concept in today’s edition of The Times.