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parade of lights

Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to downtown Missoula for the 12th annual Parade of Lights on Saturday.

They will arrive at 1 p.m. and spend the day at the Florence Building, 111 N. Higgins Ave., taking Christmas wishes and photos with children. The afternoon will feature holiday shopping and nearly 30 family activities throughout downtown.

The Parade of Lights will commence at 6 p.m. at South Fourth Street and Higgins Avenue and travel north to the Crossings sculpture (red X's) for the bonfire and the annual lighting of Missoula’s downtown Christmas tree at 6:30 p.m. Free coffee, cocoa and cookies will be available, and there will be special performances from a few community members.

The staging for parade floats and other entries will begin at 5 p.m. on South Fourth Street East. Plaques will be awarded to the best floats/entries in these categories: Best Commercial Entry, Best K-8 Entry, Best Religious Entry and Best Civic/Nonprofit Entry. There are more than 20 float entries this year.

After the lighting of the tree at 6:30, the MDA invites the crowd to stick around for a special performance by MCT’s "The Winter Wonderettes" and a visit from Susie Who from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." This portion of the event will feature holiday-themed live music and entertainment.

Visit missouladowntown.com for the full schedule of events.

Santa’s arrival and the Parade of Lights is sponsored by 30 Missoula businesses and individuals. Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind P.C. and Liquid Planet are this year’s title sponsors.

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