TWIN FALLS — The final preparations for the Festival of Lights Christmas Parade, which is happening on Friday, are underway. As the date edges closer, excitement is growing across the community since it will mark the return of a holiday favorite that was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
“It’s been a tradition where people love to bring their families, sit on the side of the main street and see the light parade go down," said Christopher Reid, a Twin Falls city council member. "There’s a lot of candy that is thrown, you have Santa in the parade. Just to get back out and see some things we’ve had in the past. ”
Community members feel the parade will provide a sense of normalcy and help correctly kick off this year's holiday season. Something not everyone was able to feel last year.
“Just being able to actually make it feel like Christmas again, and all of the things that come along with it," said Larissa Williams, a Twin Falls Resident. "Whether it’s within the community, kids at schools, or with businesses and Christmas parties and stuff. I just think it’s nice to have all of that stuff back again.”
The parade is a very community-based event, and it's a chance for local downtown businesses to spread holiday cheer. Many will have their doors open hoping to interact with residents coming in and out of their shops.
“The parade is more of a celebration, of course of the holiday, but also it’s a celebration of that relationship that nurtures the business sector, but also nurtures the community back with what businesses give back," said Liyah Babayan, the Owner of Ooh La La. "It’s just a really special time to honor and celebrate that bond.”
As expected, plenty of people will be heading down to the parade with their families and children to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus. As their excitement continues to grow, Mr. Claus is becoming just as eager himself.
“Mrs. Claus and I, we wait all year long for Christmas, and when it finally gets here, and we get to come to Twin Falls and be part of the Festival of Lights, it’s a wonderful time," said Mr. Claus. "So come and enjoy the spirit of Christmas in downtown Twin Falls.”
With all of the excitement, the South Central Public Health District also hopes to see people have fun, yet to do it as safely as possible. Since this event is expected to draw large crowds, officials from the health district are heavily encouraging people to social distance to reduce the chance of transmission.
“If there is some way that you can stand in the back, skirt around the edge, wait until the big crowd of people goes into the door before you do," said Brianna Bodily, the Public Information Officer for the South Central Public Health District. "Just give yourself a second to scout it out and see where you can go to limit the risk as much as possible.”
The parade is set to start at 6:00 pm, and it will begin on Dierkes Street, right near Magic Valley High School, and go all the way down Main Ave. until Idaho Street. City officials encourage people to get there early since they expect a lot of people in attendance and since roads begin closing at 5:00 pm.