The streets of downtown Beatrice will be flooded with holiday lights on Saturday, Dec. 1, as the annual Holiday Lighted Parade makes its way through town.
More than 20 floats will be included in this year’s parade, which poses extra challenges to participants who have to incorporate lights into their floats.
“The parade is really spectacular to see with all the lights and the creativity that goes into it,” said Angie Bruna, Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce director. “We do the Homestead Days parade which is a challenge enough to put float ideas together, but then to add the dimension that this has to be lighted, how do we get electricity to run the lights for the whole duration? It’s really cool to see it come together.”
Entering its fourth year, the Holiday Lighted Parade has become a full day of holiday-themed events.
“It’s really evolved into a day packed full of activities," Bruna said. "Main Street is hosting their trolley rides with Santa Claus, the library has kids crafts; there really is a lot going on.”
On Dec. 1, Santa Claus will make his first visit to Beatrice from 10 a.m. to noon, when he’ll visit children at the Indian Creek Mall.
Kids’ crafts start at the library at 10:30 a.m. and last for two hours. The library is also hosting its "Have a Heavenly Holiday" display for visitors to enjoy.
Trolley rides downtown with Santa last from 1-3 p.m. and are free for all to enjoy.
Michael Sothan, Director of Main Street Beatrice, the group that sponsors the event, said the rides have become an annual tradition.
“It’s been extremely well received,” he said. “We’ve been close to having more people than we can handle. This year we anticipate running until 3 p.m., but will make an effort to get everyone in line at that time through. As we near the Christmas time of year, everyone wants to get their kids out and see Santa, and this is a fun way to see things downtown.”
Trolley rides start and end at Brown’s Shoe Fit at 509 Court St.
Beatrice Movies will be showing Frosty the Snowman at 2, 2:45, 3:30, 4:10 and 4:50 p.m. Kids get in free with the purchase of a $1 adult ticket.
Holiday carolers will perform at the Carnegie building at 5:30 p.m. ahead of the parade which begins at 6 p.m.
Along the parade route, hot chocolate can be found at the Carriage Motors shop on 5th Street and in front of Sunrise Bakery, where cookies are also available. Hot chocolate will also be available near the Carnegie building while supplies last, and Beatrice High School cheerleaders will offer face-painting inside.
Peppermint mochas will be served at The Coffee Bistro, and holiday-flavored popcorn will be for sale at Traubel’s Popcorn Stand.
Santa Claus will be in Charles Park following the parade to meet with children and take photos. There is no cost to the public for the photos.
“I think most kids really do enjoy seeing Santa,” Bruna said. “I think for each kid it’s different. Some like the lights better on the floats, but then there’s kids who just can’t wait to see Santa.”
The Beatrice Sertoma and Rotary clubs will also host games in the park following the parade.
The Chamber is asking anyone putting up holiday lights to participate in the holiday lights tour map. The map will serve as a directory for people looking to spot holiday lights around town and is free to participate in.
The maps will be distributed during the Holiday Lighted Parade event.