COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Colorado Springs Festival of Lights Parade is back after organizers were forced to cancel the traditional parade last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, the Festival of Lights was a drive-thru event in the World Arena parking lot. Instead of a traditional parade, around 300 spectators drove by parade entries.
This year, the Festival of Lights Parade is coming back in full swing. There are about 70 floats, bands and other units planned to participate in the parade procession. The 2021 theme for the Festival of Lights parade is "Songs of the Season."
Parade preparations are winding down, as volunteers put finishing touches on floats like the one being made by students and staff at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.
"We want it to reflect our campus and also be a winter wonderland," said student Shaie Muhamad, who created the float's concept."
"Ten students have been working on it for a few months," said Haley Russ, coordinator for student activities.
The parade begins at 5:50 p.m. Saturday. The procession is on Tejon Street, from St. Vrain Street to Vermijo Avenue. Below is a map of the parade and road closures in the area.
Organizers expect to see roughly 60,000 in attendance, boosted by good weather. People are encouraged to arrive early to find parking and a place to sit.
"I think it'd be a good idea to get down there around 4 o'clock and watch the tuba Christmas at Acacia Park," said Terry Collinson, the parade's executive director. "There's 100 tuba players playing Christmas carols. And if you don't do that, I would certainly be down there by five."
On-street metered parking will be available on all open roads. Organizers say there are five nearby parking garages available for attendees. The three garages that are city parking garages will be available for $1 per hour. The parking garages are located below:
- Plaza of the Rockies building on Colorado Ave. between Nevada and Tejon
- Garage on Nevada and Colorado, city-operated
- Bus Barn on Nevada and Kiowa, city-operated
- Under the Antlers Hotel on Cascade - enter off of W. Pikes Peak or Colorado Ave.
- Parking Garage on Cascade and Bijou, city-operated
Handicapped parking can be found on Bijou Street and Kiowa Street between Nevada Avenue and Cascade Avenue.