Parade of Lights set for Saturday

The 23rd annual Parade of Lights will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8. Floats will travel down Mill Street and end at the Rushford Fire Station where Santa will be wait- ing with hot cocoa, cider and cookies.
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The 23rd annual Parade of Lights will help kick off the holiday season this weekend. Scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, the parade has been a treasured tradition for area residents for over two decades. “We were just talking about how it’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for 23 years, because we still get excited about it, just like it was the first one, “ said Merchants Bank’s Kari Johnson.

Following tradition, floats will line up behind the old R-P school buildings near the parking lot. The route will follow Mill Street to the south, turn right on Jessie Street and proceed west, then turn left and follow Elm Street south to the Fire Station.

“After the parade, people can gather at the fire station for hot cocoa, cider and cookies,” Johnson said. “Plus Santa will be there to talk to the kids, and we’ll have caroling. The parade has just become one of those area traditions we really look forward to.”

According to Johnson, ten floats have been pre-registered at this writing. “That’s pretty normal, since most people know that they can just hop into the lineup the night of the parade and we encourage that,” she said. “We average about 35 floats each year, and I expect about that many again. With the recent snow it’s really looking like Christmas, so people should be in the right spirit to come be part of the parade!”

Johnson said Merchants Bank employees have started work on their float and are excited that Santa will be riding with them this year. “But I can’t tell you any more detail than that,” she laughed. “I mean, we don’t want to give away any of our great ideas! They wouldn’t do that at the Rose Parade, would they?”

An integral part of the Parade of Lights is the emphasis on charitable giving, Johnson said. “We encourage monetary and food donations to the Semcac Food Shelf,” she said. “There will be bins at the fire station, and anyone who wants to make donations ahead of time can stop into the bank. We tend to get more monetary donations than actual food, but we encourage and accept both.”

Monetary donations can also be mailed to Semcac, PO Box 5459, Rushford, MN 55971.