Celebrate the Holidays at Locations Across Central Wisconsin
By Molly Schecklman – With the holiday season fast approaching, there are lots of cities throughout Central Wisconsin that choose to celebrate with a holiday parade or celebration! A list of these can be found below:
The Wausau Holiday Parade was started in the early 1980s by the Wausau West Side Business Association. Today the parade is hosted by Wausau Events and draws over 3,000 attendees each year.
“The Wausau Holiday Parade is a celebration of the season featuring floats full of twinkling lights and holiday spirit! Immediately following the parade there’s a tree lighting on the 400 Block and a Warming Party in the Great Hall, featuring music, cookies (while they last), and some very special guests – Santa and Mrs. Claus,” said Sara Hujar, Executive Director of Wausau Events.
The parade route runs from Marathon Park all the way to the 400 block and is continuing to grow. This year’s parade is expected to have over 70 floats.
“The floats, the people, the festive feeling in the air… that’s what I enjoy most about the event. Children and families out and about enjoying time together. Plus, welcoming Santa to the city with a parade of 70+ floats is pretty exciting,” said Elizabeth Knight, President of Wausau Events Board of Directors. “When it all comes together, it’s magical. It is just a great way to bring community together to celebrate the season.”
The Wausau Holiday Parade will take place on December 1 at 6:30 p.m. and will arrive Downtown by approximately 7:00 p.m. A tree lighting will take place on the 400 Block after the parade’s completion.
The Stevens Point Holiday Parade has been bringing joy to families and children since 1989.
“The parade has been a long tradition here is Stevens Point for families in the community to look forward to and attend the parade yearly,” said Gregg Gokey, volunteer for the Association of Downtown Businesses and Director of Operations at Wildcard Corp. “For the last few years I have been involved, ADB has successfully run the parade solely by volunteers from the local businesses and others from the community. This helps to keep the tradition moving forward for those enjoying it.”
This year’s parade can expect to see nearly 5,000 people flood the downtown area of Stevens Point and see up to 75 parade float entries. After the ending of the parade, the night will conclude with a festive tree lighting to start the local holiday season.
“Seeing the joy that the parade brings to all families and children as well as the impressive entries truly make the event what it is,” said Gokey.
The parade will be held on Main Street in downtown Stevens Point at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, November 17.
The annual Marshfield Holiday Parade will take place 6:30-7:30 p.m. November 16 from 2nd to 14th Street. Don’t miss the Santa float! Downtown businesses will be competing for best window display, and the public can select their favorite via the Mainstreet Marshfield Facebook page. A few businesses will have specials and other treats available.
Santa will be available for a meet-and-greet afterwards at the Holiday Inn on Central Ave. Come out for free hot cocoa, cookies, and activity books.
“It’s a great community gathering of events where we celebrate the holidays and the small town charm of Christmas downtown,” said Kaelie Gomez, executive director of Main Street Marshfield.
The 47th Annual Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, December 2 from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Clowns will begin to make appearances on the streets of Abbotsford at 7:00 p.m.
Thorp’s 10th Annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Thursday, December 7. The Christmas Parade will take place in downtown Thorp and the Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held at Yellowstone Trail Park.
Mosinee will host their Christmas Craft Show, Festival, and Parade beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 2 with a Pancake Breakfast featuring special guest, Santa. Children and families can then have their picture taken with Santa for a minimal cost or for free if they bring their own camera. At 5:45 p.m. be sure to head to Downtown Mosinee with the city’s mayor for the Annual Christmas Parade and Downtown Tree Lighting. The parade will start at 6:00 p.m.
A Santa visit will be held at Greenwood High School in the cafeteria at 10:00 a.m. on December 9. Greenwood will also be hosting “Small Business Saturday” on November 25 to support the small businesses in the community.
“It’s about celebrating and sharing the small businesses that are a part of our lives from corner stores to food trucks to online boutiques,” said Lonna Klinke, City of Greenwood Clerk Treasurer. “It has now become a holiday shopping tradition that leaves many people feeling inspired to shop small year around.”
No, not the reindeer… but there will be reindeer in attendance! Rudolph’s Country Christmas will take place on Saturday, December 9. The day will feature food vendors, basket raffles, talent demonstrations, outdoor craft vendors, a gingerbread contest, a parade, and collectible event postcards.