Since 2016, the City of Lacey has lit up our hearts and ignited our holiday spirit with their annual Lighted Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting. The free, family-friendly parade and Christmas tree lighting is happening Monday, December 4, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. in and around Huntamer Park. The event captures the true intent of the holiday season, bringing together community, joy, and tradition.
History of the Lacey Lighted Parade
City of Lacey Recreation Supervisor Jeannette Sieler shares the history of the Lacey Lighted Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting: “Lacey has been celebrating the holidays with a tree lighting ceremony since 1996. It started in West Corp Plaza in the parking lot at Fred Meyer on 7th Avenue and Sleater Kinney Road and included a brief ceremony and holiday music performed by an elementary school choir. The event was later moved to Huntamer Park and expanded from lighting a single tree to lighting up the entire park.”
Over the years, City staff have added an animated Santa and his reindeer flying over the park, candy cane walkways, Santa stories and songs, and the lighted parade.
“In 2016, when the City was celebrating its 50th Anniversary, we added the Lighted Parade to lead off the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. It was meant to be a one-time thing,” shares Sieler, “but, it was so popular and so fun, we’ve continued with the parade and each year it gets brighter and better with all the great community members who light up their vehicles!”
The Lacey Lighted Parade is a huge moving event, in the middle of the city, in the dark. It is the product of extraordinary community spirit and teamwork and is made possible because of the support of organizations such as the City’s Police, Public Works and Parks Departments. Gratitude also goes to Lacey Fire District 3, that provides the Santa Mobile, Olympia Amateur Radio Society, that provides communication along the route and Intercity Transit, that works with the City to reroute some of their buses and provides a memorable entry each year as well.
“I love how our Lacey Parks and Public Works staff go all in for this event,” says Sieler. “From their creative design and set up of the lights at Huntamer Park to the decoration of the Rudolf Truck and the synchronized lighted mower crew for the parade. My staff – Recreation Coordinators Jordy Ratkie and Krzysztyanka Shaffer – are key to this event’s planning, including promotion, managing the entries, coordinating with vendors, and planning the event schedule, plus adding in judging this year as a new piece that we expect will get even more amazing entries!”
Over the year, weather has yet to hinder parade participants, community spectators, or Santa himself from enjoying the Lacey Lighted Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting. The parade traditionally lasts around 30 minutes and you won’t want to miss the Christmas Tree Lighting and photos with Santa after so remember to dress warm and plan accordingly!
2023 Lacey Lighted Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting
The Lacey Lighted Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. and will follow a route beginning on Sleater Kinney Road, traveling down 7th Avenue, and ending at Huntamer Park for the much-anticipated Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. A map of the parade route can be found on the Lacey Lighted Parade website.
“The best viewing is along 7th Avenue between Sleater Kinney Road and going past Huntamer Park,” says Jeannette. “The closer you are to the park, the better you’ll be able to hear the music and the MC announcing the entries as they come along.”
Worried about parking? Plan to arrive early and enjoy food from some favorite community vendors as well as pre-parade performances at Huntamer Park by the Fantasia Twirlers and the Hoop Honeys.
While Santa remains the guest of honor, he has gathered many friends and neighbors to light the way before him. “The stars of the parade,” says Sieler, “are all the great community members, businesses, and clubs that light up their vehicles and use their creative flair to light up Lacey for this fun holiday spectacle. River Ridge High School Marching Band will be leading off our parade again as they have since the first year. They do a great job setting the tone for the parade, then they gather on the stage to play some more songs for the tree lighting. The parade is a great opportunity for businesses, clubs, and organizations to come together and contribute to a fun experience for families in Lacey. It’s a great way to kick off the holidays and light up the night. Community events like these make Lacey a great place to live!”
The holiday magic does not end on December 4. Huntamer Park will sparkle and glow through the holiday season and community members can still hear Santa read a story or delight in favorite Christmas songs by simply tuning in on their car radio dial.
To learn more about the Lacey Lighted Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting or other city sponsored events, check out the City of Lacey Parks and Recreation website and follow them on Facebook at Lacey Parks, Culture & Recreation. Reach out with questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.