Guide to 2019 Holiday Parades in the Heartland

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas across the Heartland.

Celebrate the most wonderful time of year at a holiday parade.

Towns from West Frankfort to Cape Girardeau, Jackson to Benton host an annual event for you to enjoy.

Here's your guide to parades in your neck of the woods.

Downtown Christmas Event

WHEN: Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 14-15 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day

WHERE: Marion, Ill. around the historic Tower Square

DETAILS: Festivities will include ice skating, carriage rides, food vendors, classic Christmas music and Santa Claus. In addition, various shops and restaurants around the Square will be open. There will be fees of $10 for adults and $5 for children for ice skating, which includes the skate rental, and $10 per family for carriage rides. The food vendors will also be for a fee. The City of Marion partnered with Rides Mass Transit Dist. for the Downtown Christmas Event. Bus transportation to and from the fairground parking area to the event will be provided for the duration of the event each evening. All RMTD buses are ADA accessible. Parking downtown will be reserved for patrons of the downtown businesses, and Civict Center event attendees.

Sikeston Parade of Lights

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Sikeston, MO

DETAILS: See more than 50 lighted floats for Sikeston’s Parade of Lights. Last year’s attendance was estimated at more than 2,000.

West Frankfort Fantasy of Lights Parade


WHERE: West Frankfort, IL
The Fantasy of Lights Parade kicks off at Lincoln Street and runs west down Main Street to Anna Street.

DETAILS: Thousands of people turn out yearly to line up along Main to see 50-60 lighted parade entries, all culminating to the very last parade entry, Santa riding in on top of a West Frankfort Fire Department engine. After the parade, enjoy the lighting of the downtown Christmas Tree in Coal Miner’s Memorial Park.


Cape Parade of Lights: Ringing in the Holidays

WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 1 starting at dusk

WHERE: Cape Girardeau, MO
The Cape Parade of Lights will begin at the intersection of Broadway Street and West End Boulevard (Capaha Park entrance), continue down Broadway Street toward the river, will then turn right onto Main Street, and end at 43 S. Main (Art Van Furniture parking lot).

DETAILS: You’re invited to get in the holiday spirit at the 28th Annual Downtown Christmas Parade of Lights on Sunday, Dec. 1. This year’s theme is “Christmas Lights and Winter Nights.” Area businesses and organizations will stroll from Capaha Park, east down Broadway to Main Street and end at Art Van Furniture. The parade will start at dusk.

Cairo Lights Parade

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 6 starting at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Cairo, IL
The parade will begin on 20th and Washington streets and end on 8th Street.

DETAILS: The second annual lights parade will take over historic 8th Street. This year’s theme is “There’s no place like home,” with inspiration from The Wizard of Oz. Afterward, you’re invited to sit around the fire and enjoy Cairo Heritage light decor, free hot chocolate, cookies, and smooth grooves.

Dashing through Downtown Parade of Lights

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 6 starting at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Historic Downtown Sikeston, MO
The parade will begin at the Post Office, travel west down North St, south onto Stoddard, East onto Center, South onto Kingshighway, West onto Front Street ending at Legion Park.

DETAILS: Sikeston is hosting a special Christmas parade of lights. After the parade, head to the Legion Park for the official Christmas tree lighting, a visit with Santa, carriage rides, free hot chocolate, candy cane hunt, and more.

2019 River Radio Lighted Christmas Parade

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 6 starting at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Poplar Bluff
The parade will run from Highway 142 at McDonald’s through downtown Poplar Bluff and end at the Black River Coliseum.

DETAILS: Experience all the fun and festivity of Christmas at the Annual River Radio Lighted Christmas Parade in Poplar Bluff—weather permitting—Friday, December 6th at 6:30 p.m. You’ll see thousands of twinkling lights, hear Christmas music both old and new, and feel the magic of the season in every float. The parade will run from Highway 142 at McDonald’s through downtown Poplar Bluff and end at the Black River Coliseum.

Uptown Jackson Christmas Parade


WHERE: Uptown Jackson, MO
The parade will begin on West Main Street and travel up the hill and turn onto South High Street and finish at the gazebo so families can pose with Santa for a photo.

DETAILS: Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization Christmas Parade will be held on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 5:00 p.m. The theme is “Christmas Candy Christmas.” Following the Parade, Santa will be in the gazebo at the Cape County Courthouse. There will also be extended shopping hours, a window decorating contest, and opportunities to win prizes and shopping sprees.

Carbondale Lights Fantastic Parade

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 7 starting at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Carbondale, IL
The Parade will start on Mill Street, head north on 51N, then around Town Square, turning right on Jackson Street and Washington Street.


Roads will close and detours of Main Street, Walnut Street, and Illinois Avenue will begin promptly at 5 p.m., so parade-goers are encouraged to arrive early and avoid traffic congestion. Roads will open promptly after the parade ends, which is typically around 8 p.m.

Mt. Vernon Christmas Light Parade

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 7 starting at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Mt. Vernon, IL
The parade route will start on Main Street from 7th to 10th Street, 10th to Broadway, Broadway from 10, and back to 7th Street.

DETAILS: Mt. Vernon will be filled with all sorts of holiday fun. After the parade, head to 9th Street Between Main and Broadway for live performances, a tree lighting, cookie decorating, arts and crafts and food concessions.

2019 Christmas Parade Paducah

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.

WHERE: Paducah, KY
The parade begins at 5 p.m. at 14th and Broadway and travels down Broadway until it turns left at 2nd Street. The parade will then travel down second until it reaches Monroe where it will disband. Parade participants are encouraged to continue moving down 2nd Street toward the Farmers’ Market pavilion to maintain the flow of the parade.

DETAILS: The theme is Christmas Celebrations Around the World. Music and lights are required on all parade entries. Santa Claus will make a special appearance at the end of the parade on the official Santa float and will be available for photos after the parade at the downtown gazebo.

Light Up Tamms Parade

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 14 starting right after dark

WHERE: Tamms, IL at the Tamms Train Depot

DETAILS: Floats, local businesses, and first responders will light up Tamms in the 6th annual parade. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will make a special appearance at the Historic Village of Tamms Train Depot. There will also be a tree lighting, crafts, hot chocolate, cookies and more.