Canyonlands Advertising was the Moab Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year at last year’s Christmas Electric Light Parade. This year's parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, in downtown Moab. [Courtesy photo]

The public is invited to come watch Moab’s Christmas tree lighting on Friday, Dec. 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Swanny City Park. There will be hot chocolate and cookies, plus performances by the Grand County High School band and the local choir group, Valley Voices.

The following evening, festivities continue with Moab’s annual Christmas Electric Light Parade, starting at 6 p.m. at 100 N. Main St. The parade culminates at Kane Creek Boulevard.

Each year, a “traveling trophy” is given to whoever has the best float, as determined by a panel of judges associated with the Moab Chamber of Commerce – the parade’s sponsor. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) won best float last year for its Star Wars-themed float. The Moab office’s fish biologists and their families were dressed as Star Wars characters, said Katie Creighton, Moab Field Station Project leader.

The DWR truck was designed to look like a giant humpback chub – an endangered fish – while pulling the agency’s fishing boat used for looking for endangered fish. The boat was disguised as a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter.

“We were trying to raise awareness of endangered fish in the Colorado River,” Creighton said.

Parade participants are expected to decorate their floats around a particular theme – this year’s theme is “Christmas Around the World.” Whoever wins this year’s contest will decorate the trophy with that theme before passing the trophy on to next year’s winner.

“It’s fun; a lot of people come out – last year’s was the biggest parade ever, with over 55 entries,” Moab Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jodie Hugentobler said.

Church groups, the City of Moab, Moab Regional Hospital, local banks, nonprofit groups, and various businesses and clubs, plus bicyclists, and individuals and families participate in the parade each year.

The streets are darkened – street and business lights are turned off during the parade to accentuate the lighted floats. Even the miniature horses who walk the parade have strings of lights around their necks.

Parade-watchers can warm up with hot chocolate and cookies – from Moab Regional Hospital’s cocoa cottage, and at Zions Bank, 300 S. Main St., where in addition to cocoa and cookies, there will be popcorn.

KCYN radio station general manager Phil Mueller will do a live broadcast of the parade with descriptions of the floats and announcing individual sponsors as the parade makes its way through town. That’s for the folks back home, or those who choose to watch from the warmth of their motor vehicles.

“The neat thing about the parade is the creativity that you see,” Mueller said. “I’ve seen the crowd grow each year.”

Moab Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Colin Fryer will head up the parade alongside the chamber’s Business of the Year, Central Utah Insurance.

Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Renewable Energy Program is providing the power free of charge for the Christmas tree lighting that will be displayed through New Year’s Day.

“Christmas Around the World” is theme at this year’s event

“The neat thing about the parade is the creativity that you see … I’ve seen the crowd grow each year.”

When: Tree lighting on Friday, Dec. 4, at 5:30 p.m. The parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, starting at 6 p.m.

Where: Tree lighting at Swanny City Park, 400 N. 100 West. The parade starts at 100 N. Main and ends at Kane Creek Boulevard

Cost: Free

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