2013 Parade of Lights and Lighting of the Tree Sat. Dec 7

By LINDA McCARTHY

Celebration to Serve as Griz Football Postgame Party

The quintessential holiday event in Missoula, Montana is the 11th annual Parade of Lights and the Lighting of the Tree, which this year will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7.

The day kicks off with the Jingle Bell Run – a fundraiser for the Missoula Arthritis Foundation – which commences with registration and packet pick-up at 9am in Caras Park. Race times are 10 am for the children’s 1K Race with the Elves and 10:30 am for the 5K.

Santa arrives at 1 pm at the Florence Hotel (111 N. Higgins) and will be taking wishes and photos in the lobby until 5 pm. Children and their families shall be entertained at more than 20 downtown destinations with gift-making, crafts, cookie decorating, free-horse-drawn carriage rides, and much more throughout the afternoon.

2013 Missoula Parade of Lights. The Parade of Lights will commence at 6 pm on the Hip Strip at Higgins and 4th and will move north to Circle Square for the Lighting of the Tree and a special performance, bonfire, cocoa and more. The Christian Life Center Choir, UM Jazz Ensemble, Dolce Canto, and Tuba Christmas, as well as dancers from the Rocky Mountain School of Ballet shall entertain the masses, until about 7:30pm.

This year’s Parade of Lights will be the featured after-game party following the Grizzly Football Team’s noon game vs. Coastal Carolina. Boy Scout Troop #1910, led by Bill Hoffman, will light the giant bonfire in the middle of the street, and this year there will be additional fire barrels at Circle Square. Food and alcoholic beverages will be available for sale, and there will be complimentary coffee, cocoa and cookies for all.
Following the Tree Lighting Ceremony, Downtown will be home to Après Holiday, a community ‘after party’ at dozens of downtown bars and restaurants, many of which are offering drink and dining specials.

2013 Missoula Parade of Lights. Christmas Tree. Photo Courtesy of MDA.

Produced by the Missoula Downtown Association, the Parade of Lights & Lighting of the Tree is a gift to the community of Missoula with significant contributions from downtown businesses, including Liquid Planet, Datsopoulos, MacDonald and Lind, The University of Montana, Montana Public Radio, Advanced Litho Printing and nearly 30 other downtown businesses. It’s just another way in which Downtown Missoula connects our community.

All Missoulians are invited to join in this special community celebration that is free of charge and open for all. Parking throughout downtown is free on Saturdays, and both the Central Park (100 of West Main) and Park Place (200 block of East Front) structures are open to the public.

Connect to the holidays this year in the heart of Missoula at the 11th annual Parade of Lights and Lighting of the Tree this Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 from 6-7:30 pm on North Higgins in Downtown. For more information, visit the MDA website, or call 542-4238.

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