Santa’s Arrival, Parade of Lights, Holiday Village & Lighting of Tree in Downtown Missoula Sat. Dec. 3

Santa arrives in Downtown Missoula on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 1pm for the annual Parade of Lights, Holiday Village, and Lighting of the Holiday Tree. The 20th Annual Parade of Lights will feature stationary floats parked on Higgins, where attendees can experience the holiday tradition on foot or by car. Higgins Avenue will be open to vehicle traffic up to Spruce Street, where the official street closure will feature lots of fun, a makers’ market, and much more.

Community members and guests are encouraged to park and walk. However, folks can also experience the Parade of Lights from the comfort of the car driving on Higgins up to Spruce Street or watch the festivities from home on MCAT.

The Parade of Lights & Holiday Village, sponsored by Dick Anderson Construction and Windfall, will feature bright floats in parking spaces along both sides of Higgins Avenue. New this year is the Winter Makers Market on North Higgins from Spruce to the Red XXXX’s, hosted and curated by the Missoula Makers Collective. There will be 25 artists selling handmade goods from 5-8 pm.

“After last year’s first stationary parade on Higgins, we received amazing community feedback from businesses and event attendees,” said Katie Ghen Simpson, Committee Chair and owner of Bathing Beauties Beads.  “Families were able to enjoy and interact with the floats at their own leisurely pace, shop at Downtown businesses, and revel in the splendor of Downtown Missoula. The Parade of Lights is such a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays and share in the community cheer.”

Following a two-year hiatus, Downtown businesses will be hosting fun and festive activities for children at more than 20 Downtown locations throughout the day. Ornament making at Cranky Sam’s, block printing at Betty’s Divine, and tea-making at Lake Missoula Tea Company are some examples of activities children and families can enjoy. Visit for a full list of activities.

Santa will arrive in Downtown Missoula at 1pm at the Missoula Public Library (455 E. Main) on his horse-drawn carriage. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for “take your own” photos from 1-4pm. Families are encouraged to get in line early, as Santa will be participating in the Parade and Lighting the Holiday Tree promptly at 6pm at the Red XXXXs. Complimentary cocoa and coffee, along with a big community bonfire, thanks to Boy Scout Troop #1960.

The Resort at Paws Up will offer free horse-drawn carriage rides for three consecutive weekends from 12pm-4pm December 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18. Rides start at the Missoula Art Park at Pine and Pattee, and the carriage can hold up to 12 people per ride. Two beautiful Fjord/Pecheron cross horses named Daisy and Duke will be our hosts.

Additionally, the Missoula Downtown Association will host Teddy Bear Tea Parties at First Interstate Bank for three consecutive weekends: Dec. 4, 10-11, and 17-18. Online registration and payment ($10 per person) is online at

More information on the Parade of Lights and other holiday happenings in Downtown Missoula can be found online at or by contacting the Downtown Missoula Partnership office via phone (406-543-4238) or email (