BELOIT -- The day after Thanksgiving traditionally is known as the start of the holiday shopping season, but the city of Beloit has a tradition all its own -- the Grand Lighted Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony, which will be held Friday, Nov. 25, 2016.
Festivities begin at 5 p.m. with live music at the First National Bank plaza in downtown Beloit. Santa arrives at 6 p.m. for the tree lighting ceremony at the plaza followed by the parade, which begins at 6:15 p.m. along Grand Avenue, from Third Street to Horace White Park.
The parade features floats decorated by local businesses and organizations. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three decorated floats in the business and nonprofit categories.
Crystal Cribbs, program coordinator for the Downtown Beloit Association, said the parade usually is well attended.
"About 30 floats is normal for the parade. Hopefully, we will have more to make the parade last longer," Cribbs said. "It’s not only a community tradition, but also a family tradition for people throughout the area."
After the parade, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be at the Turtle Creek Bookstore, 444 E. Grand Ave., to take photos with children.
Cribbs said planning for the parade takes place throughout the year.
"Usually right after the parade ends, we have a committee that discusses how the parade went," Cribbs said. "Planning starts the day after it ends. We see what worked and what didn't work. Three months before the parade, we send our correspondence to get people to participate. We contact volunteers to man the different locations. We have a Santa crew that makes sure Santa lands safely at the First National Bank plaza. We work with the police and fire departments to make sure the event goes as smoothly as possible."
Holidazzle, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016
People can do their holiday shopping and enjoy an evening of entertainment with the annual Holidazzle in Beloit, which will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, in downtown Beloit.
Participating downtown businesses will host crafters, musicians and artisans throughout the evening while offering sales and specials to customers.
"Basically, it’s an opportunity to shop for unique holiday gifts," said Crystal Cribbs, program coordinator for the Downtown Beloit Association. "It’s an opportunity to shop local and in downtown Beloit. The businesses host artisans and crafters, and people get to meet the people who are making their holiday gift."
About 25 businesses will be participating this year. Cribbs said the DBA begins contacting businesses early in the fall to encourage them to participate in Holidazzle.
"We reach out to businesses to get them on board," Cribbs said. "We then reach out to the vendors and artisans to get them to particate."
For more information about Holidazzle, go to downtownbeloit.com.