Owatonna brightens itself into the holiday season


Designed by Angana Patel

Owatonna residents gathered at last year’s Lighting of the Lights Parade as they watched a float pass by.

Angana Patel, Writer

Owatonna will be kicking the month of December off with a lighted parade. The parade will be on Thursday Dec. 1 from 6-8 p.m. It will start on Front Street proceeding south on Cedar Avenue to Central Park. 

After all 90 lighted floats travel to Central Park, the Lighting of the Lights in the park will begin. The floats will range from local Owatonna businesses to public safety departments to nonprofit businesses. This year at the end of the parade there will be local judges to judge the “Best Entry” and they will be given a golden trophy. After the contest, the crowd will await as there will be a countdown for the light switch to turn on, which will brighten all of Central Park. 

This year, Anthony Young and his family will have the privilege to turn on the switch this year. Young suffered from a life-threatening car accident this past summer. This will be a way to celebrate him from his road to recovery. After the Lighting of the Lights OHS Carolers will kick off the event by performing on the bandshell stage and singing classic Christmas carols. OHS Carolers are excited to perform at this year’s festive event. Senior Caroler Paige Anselmo said, “I really love the lighting of the lights because it’s the first introduction to the community for the carolers and it’s an opportunity for us carolers to bring smiles and joy upon the community.” Ms. Claus will also be making an appearance and taking pictures with the audience. 

This cherished town tradition is not only to have beautiful and bright-colorful lights displayed but to bring the community together. Main Street Director Ms. Lisa Cochran said, “This is a community event. There are lots of people coming together whether it’s watching the parade or just the effort that businesses make to decorate their trucks or trailers.” This event will also be having a fundraiser for Main Street Projects. This fundraiser will help cover the cost of the event and any extra money will go towards the Holiday Lighting Fund. The fund will allow the city to get holiday lights for all of the side streets by the park.

This holiday tradition is held on Dec. 1. The parade and  Lighting of the Lights ceremony start at 6 p.m. The entire event will be live-streamed on Owatonna Live. Remember to wear light up necklaces, hats, glasses or any holiday related clothing to the parade.