Festivities in downtown Sioux Falls start in the afternoon. At around 6 p.m. Philips Avenue becomes closed for traffic and is flooded by spectators waiting for the start of the spectacular event. At 7:30 p.m. the city center is full of music as shining holiday floats of the Parade of Lights makes its way through the city. The parade has a different theme every year. In 2019, the theme is “At the Movies” in honour of The Sioux Falls State Theatre opening in 2020.
Floats at the parade are competing for six different awards in a competition judged by a jury of community leaders. Each of the winners will receive a trophy commemorating their achievement. The whole city comes to celebrate their success in a massive After Party & Awards Ceremony following the parade. This event is free and open to the public. The celebration features a festive holiday tree lighting, lots of free snacks and cider, as well as a cash bar.