Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates.
The Parade of Lights is the most popular winter event in the Black Hills, attracting about 30,000 spectators every year. This eye-popping parade takes place in downtown Rapid City on Saturday after Thanksgiving. It features over 75 colorful floats strung with thousands of twinkling lights.
On the day of the parade, downtown Rapid City becomes crowded with holiday skaters and spectators sipping cocoa from steaming cups. Starting from 2 p.m., people gather around Main Street Square and stroll through Winter Market, where local vendors offer unique crafts, Christmas foods, and sweets, gifts, as well as jewelry and holiday decorations. The Main Street Square ice rink is available for skaters. It also hosts a performance by the Black Hills Figure Skating Club Santa will meet with children in the Shops at Main Street Square's main lobby from noon to 3 p.m.
During the festival, people will get free coffee and hot chocolate, Small Business Saturday reusable totes, a guide to Small Business Saturday specials from local stores. Rapid City Parade of Lights started in 1996. It was initiated by the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Rapid City Class. The celebration that includes tons of various activities for all ages is free for the public.