BY JENNIFER BAILEY email@example.com
---- — DANVILLE — This year’s Night of Lights Parade, which features lighted floats decorated in holiday themes, is celebrating its 15th year.
There will be at least 35 entries in the parade at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Downtown Danville, Inc. executive director Dana Schaumburg said she’s expecting more.
Schaumburg is accepting late entries through the middle of next week.
The form and information can be downloaded at http://www.downtowndanville.org and parade packets can be picked up from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Monday at the DDI office, 149 N. Vermilion St. The parade can see about 50 entries annually.
“The parade will be led by our sponsor, Meijer, with a replica of the antique Meijer Produce Truck for the first grand marshal entry. Downtown Danville Rotary President Terry Miles will follow as the second grand marshal entry,” according to Schaumburg.
The floats travel south on Vermilion Street from Williams Street to Main Street, ending at the David S. Palmer Arena.
Thursday also marks the final night of the Presence United Samaritans Medical Center Foundation’s Festival of Trees. There is free admission to the festival from 3-9 p.m. Thursday with a donation of a non-perishable food item.
At 7:30 p.m., parade-goers can follow Santa and Mrs. Claus and the Winners’ Circle of Floats to the arena. Also to be parked outside the arena is Dewain and Marilyn Moore’s 32-foot trailer called the M&M Express. The trailer has large windows so people can see the miniature train layouts inside. A sound system amplifies the noise from the inside to the outside.
“We will have four trains running inside,” Moore said. “They are G-scale (1/24th) trains.”
The trailer has never been part of the festival before. The Moores take the trailer to parades and other events.
Awards will be given to winning floats in the holiday parade for the Downtown Danville Inc. Award, Mayor’s Award, Presence USMC Award and Downtown Rotary Award. Floats will be judged on creativity, technical; construction and presentation.
The parade is sponsored by DDI, Downtown Danville Rotary, Meijer and PUSMC Foundation’s Festival of Trees.
Prior to the parade, there will be a chili supper at the First Presbyterian Church, 100 N. Franklin St., from 3-6:30 p.m. The supper is open to the public. The cost is $4.50 in advance, $5 at the door. Children ages 3-12 are $2.50; while children under age 3 are free.
Also, music again will be provided before the parade by Danville District 118 students at Temple Plaza, at North and Vermilion streets.
The music schedule:
4:15 p.m. — Meade Park/Southwest elementaries.
4:30 p.m. — Cannon Elementary.
4:45 p.m. — Liberty/Edison elementaries.
5 p.m. — Danville High School Madrigals.
5:30 p.m. — East Park Elementary.
5:45 p.m. — Northeast Elementary.
6 p.m. — Garfield Elementary.
In addition, there will be a Family Reading Night at the Danville Public Library at 5:30 p.m. with stories in the first-floor meeting room with the children’s department and Vermilion Valley Reading Council.