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. We love our bikers and pedestrians and we cannot wait until next year when we can all gather together to experience the holiday season.

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!

Take-Home Activity Kits:

Bathing Beauties Beads (501 S. Higgins)

  • Snowflake Make & Take: 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.

Child Start, Inc. Head Start (1001 Worden)

  • Snowman Picture Frame Magnet Kit

Coming Up Rainbows & Betty’s Divine (509 S. Higgins)

  • Smelly Rainbow Ornaments: 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, while supplies last.

CREATE Art Bar (140 E. Front)

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

Frame of Mind (1706 Brooks St.)

  • DIY Ornament Decorating Kits: 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

Noteworthy Paper & Press (219 S. 3rd St. W)

  • Letters to Santa: 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!

The Clay Studio of Missoula (Pick Up Location TBD)

  • Sculptural Bird Feeders: 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.

The Dram Shop (229 E. Front)

  • DIY Ski Ornament: 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!

Zootown Arts Community Center (216 W. Main St.)

  • Paint-a-Plate for Santa: 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

Interested in being in the “Reverse” Parade of Lights? Fill out the form below!

Last day to sign up to be a part of this parade is Monday, November 30 by 5pm! 

Parade Float Notes & Requirements:

  • All floats must have their own source of power (car, generator, etc.). No power will be available.
  • Bathrooms & a warming space will be available for float attendees. But be prepared to be outside for three hours!
  • Floats are NOT allowed to have a Santa, we are working on still having the big man incorporated into our event!
  • Floats cannot have more than 10 people on their float and must wear masks and abide by the COVID-19 protocols that the Missoula City-County Health Department, Downtown Missoula Partnership, and the University of Montana have all put into place.
  • Floats cannot give out anything to the cars driving through the parade. If you want to give out candy or something similar, please contact Bram Moore at [email protected]
  • There will still be a $25 parade entry fee.

POL Parade Form 2020

  • Float Entry

    Must have less than 10 people per entry, participants must wear masks at all times, and must follow COVID-19 Protocols.
    Music is really important!
  • Not to exceed 15 ft tall or 40 ft long
This event would not be able to happen year after year without the generosity of our sponsors.