2020 Parade of Lights Saturday, December 5!

The holidays may look a little differently this year, but that won’t stop Downtown from being jolly!
Join us for the 18th Annual Parade of Lights with a twist on Saturday, December 5, 2020 as we kickoff the holiday season with a day of free and COVID-safe family activities!

Instead of offering in-person kid’s activities at our downtown retail establishments our amazing community has pivoted to offer free and low-cost holiday take-home activity kits! Get in the holiday spirit through crafting in the comfort of your own home!

We will also be hosting our first ever “Reverse” Parade of Lights! On Saturday, December 5, we encourage Missoulians to gather their family, grab some cocoa and take a drive to experience the holiday season in a fun and safe way! Instead of floats driving by, the floats will be stationed all along Campus Drive at the University of Montana Campus. Starting by the Adams Center, folks can drive their cars along Campus Drive to see the festive floats!

To make sure we are complying with MCCHD and CDC regulations surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic, this year we are only allowing cars to drive through the Reverse Parade. Bikers and pedestrians are prohibited this year. We love our bikers and pedestrians and we cannot wait until next year when we can all gather together to experience the holiday season.

The entrance to the REVERSE Parade will be on 6th Street in front of the UM Adams Center. Nearly a dozen floats will be spread out on Campus Drive from 5th Street to Beckwith and Arthur. Goodie bags will be available to the first 100 cars that drive through the parade.

Did you miss the 2019 Parade of Lights? Do you want to relive the magic? Watch MCAT’S live stream here!

The Parade of Lights is an entire day filled with fun free and/or low cost activities for children of all ages!

*Unless noted in the description, activity kits are available for pick-up from November 30 to December 6 during store hours*

Take-Home Activity Kits

November 30 – December 6:

Bathing Beauties Beads (501 S. Higgins) | Snowflake Take & Make | $5 Suggested Donation

  • This year we will be asking for a $5 suggested donation (will be donated to the Missoula Food Bank) for our snowflake kits. Kits will include: One wire snowflake form, bead soup with crystals and gems, and satin to hang your snowflake on your tree or in your window, and written directions as well as a link to view an online tutorial.

Coming Up Rainbows & Betty’s Divine (509 S. Higgins) | Smelly Rainbow Ornaments | $5

  •  Make your own little rainbow to hang on your tree (or anywhere that brings joy). Your kit will come with instructions and the pieces to create and assemble your very own rendition of a rainbow. Materials will be wool felt, upcycled fabrics, a cord to hang your creation and an instruction sheet. You provide scissors , glue and artistry. You’ll also have a special uplifting citrus aroma to drop on your creation. Rainbow Kits are $5 and can be picked up at Betty’s Divine from 10am till 7pm, while supplies last.

CREATE Art Bar (140 E. Front) | Wood Ornament Painting Kit | $10

  • Kit Includes: 2 wood slices for painting, 2 strings to hang, and a set of paints and paint brush.

Festival of Trees (218 E. Main St. Ste. C) | Teddy Bear Tea Kit | $10

  • This year instead of hosting the popular in-person Teddy Bear Teas, the Downtown Missoula Partnership will have Teddy Bear Tea Kits for families to take home and enjoy. Available for sale online or in person for $10 each, Teddy Bear Tea Kits will feature a creative art project, cookies and beverages to make, and a variety of fun items for children to enjoy with their families. Each Teddy Bear Tea Kit is intended for one child. Packaged, wrapped & ready to go. Include color preference and child’s name for personalized letter from Santa. Please order ahead and pick up is from Monday, Nov. 30 to Friday, Dec.4 from 8am – 5pm.

Frame of Mind (1706 Brooks St.) | DIY Ornament Decorating Kits | FREE

  • Frame of Mind will have DIY ornament decorating kits for kids to take home, decorate, and hang on their holiday trees! Kits include decorating materials with markers and stickers, holiday pipe cleaner to use as a hook, and an assortment of holiday ornament shapes with a 2.5″ x 3.5″ opening for users to put a wallet size photo in. Customers can also call in ahead of picking up their DIY kit to arrange having a photo printed by our staff!

Jeanette Rankin Peace Center (519 S. Higgins) | Peace Crane Making Kits | FREE

Noteworthy Paper & Press (219 S. 3rd St. W) | Letters to Santa | FREE

  • While Noteworthy won’t be hosting our annual letter writing event in store, kiddos can write their letters to Santa from home, drop them off at Noteworthy, and we will be sure they’re delivered to Santa himself! We will provide stationery for kids to write their letters and to be dropped off at or mailed to Noteworthy before December 15th so Santa has time to reply before Christmas!
Friday, December 4:

Child Start, Inc. Head Start (1001 Worden) | Snowman Picture Frame Magnet Kit | FREE

  • Pick up from 12pm till 3pm.
Saturday, December 5:

The Clay Studio of Missoula (1106 Hawthorne St.) | Sculptural Bird Feeders | FREE

  • Use our (natural mineral) clay to create a small sculpture and decorate the surface with wild bird seed of various shapes and sizes. Once your wet clay has been covered with a beautiful bird seed mosaic, let dry and find a safe place in your yard to share a snack with the wild birds in your neighborhood. Pick up on Saturday, December 5.

The Dram Shop (229 E. Front) | DIY Ski Ornament | FREE

  • Make an easy popsicle stick ski ornament for the favorite skier in your life. This will make a great gift or ornament for your tree! Pick up at 2pm – until supplies last.
December 4-11:

Zootown Arts Community Center (216 W. Main St.) | Paint-a-Plate for Santa | Kits start at $15

  • Santa is super busy this year, but he’s made time in his crazy schedule to do special, socially distanced, HOME DELIVERIES of paint-your-own-pottery from the ZACC — using the brand new ZACC VAN (it works better than his sleigh to transport breakables). Purchase a Santa Plate Package, and any other take-home PYOP pieces, through our online shop from December 4 through December 11, and Santa will deliver your order on Saturday, December 12 or Sunday, December 13. Just specify a date and morning or afternoon at checkout. Return your pieces to the ZACC by December 21 AT THE LATEST to make sure they are fired and ready to be picked-up by Christmas Eve! This might be your only chance to see Santa in person this year, unless you stay up all night on Christmas Eve. Don’t miss out! (PLEASE NOTE that Santa can only deliver in the local Missoula area.)

Interested in being an Activity Kit Provider? Fill out the form below!

POL Kid's Activities

This event would not be able to happen year after year without the generosity of our sponsors.