Downtown Tyler will light up with Christmas spirit on Nov. 30 for the annual Christmas Parade and tree lighting.
The annual event will include a parade, tree lighting ceremony and an option to watch the modern holiday classic “Elf” on the big screen at Liberty Hall.
The parade will begin on Broadway just north of the square, go west around the square and continue north on Spring Avenue.
This year, the parade has 121 entries including floats, bands, dance teams and civic groups. It starts at 6 p.m., and will last about an hour.
Per tradition, Santa will be at the end of the parade, on top of a classic Tyler Fire Department truck.
“He is busy this time of year, but we have a standing reservation with him to be in our parade,” said Neal Franklin, a Rotary Club member and event organizer. “Because so many kids are good in Tyler and Smith County, we are one of his focus areas. He’s willing to come and dedicate that one evening with us.”
Businessman John O’Sullivan has lined his downtown buildings with lights. They will stay off until the parade. The lights cover the Edward Jones building at the intersection of Erwin and Broadway, as well as the East Texas Symphony building on Erwin and the New York Store on Spring Street.
The tree lighting ceremony will take place on the square’s T.B. Butler Fountain Plaza following the parade.
Mayor Martin Heines and Texas Miracle Child Jack Bryans will throw the switch to light the community Christmas tree. As the Miracle Child, Bryans has overcome a health challenge.
The East Texas Youth Orchestra, Clarkston Elementary Chorale and Tyler Junior College Apache Belles will perform at the ceremony, according to a news release from the city.
There will be a photo opportunity with Santa for families following the ceremony.
“It is such an honor to meet the Miracle Child that will light the Christmas tree this year,” Special Events Coordinator Debbie Isham said in a news release. “It is inspiring to hear what these children have overcome in the short span of their life. I think that’s the greatest testament to the Christmas spirit; to see the joy and thankfulness that they share with others.”
Free parking will be available at Fair Plaza Garage, 208 S. College Ave.
From 5 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 30, the following streets will be closed for the parade: North Broadway from Gentry Parkway to Elm, Ferguson from Bonner to Center, Bois D’Arc from Ferguson to Erwin, Erwin from Bonner to Center and Spring from Elm to Valentine.
At 8 p.m. on Nov. 30, Liberty Hall, 103 E. Erwin St., will show “Elf.” The University of Texas at Tyler Alumni Association is sponsoring the showing. Tickets cost $7 and can be bought at LibertyTyler.com or at the door.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 30
6 p.m. parade start, followed by tree lighting
8 p.m. "Elf," Liberty Hall
WHERE: Downtown Tyler
PARKING: Free at Fair Plaza Garage, 208 S. College Ave.