The bright lights of Kennett’s Holiday Light Parade will shine even brighter this year after a year off due to COVID concerns. The parade, a Kennett Square holiday tradition, takes place the day after Thanksgiving and features floats, music and dance troupes, community groups, and an assortment of vehicles including tractors, wagons, fire engines, antique cars, buses, and more—all aglow with lights. This dazzling display culminates with the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

A record number of participants this year—over 60 floats—reflects the community’s enthusiasm about the event’s return, says organizer Carol Ciliberti. Although Santa and Mrs. Claus will not be able to do their usual meet and greet this year, they will ride in the parade and turn on the town Christmas tree before heading back to the North Pole to continue their preparations.

DJ Christopher McGrath of CBM Productions will be playing holiday music on State Street beginning at 5:30pm. Dancers from Longwood Performing Arts will kick off the festivities with a performance at the intersection of State and Union Streets at 6:15pm, followed by the parade.

“I am very excited to see the return of the holiday parade,” says Matt Fetick, Mayor of Kennett Square Borough. “It’s a great way to kick off the season, and for many of our residents it’s an annual tradition.” Fetick will emcee the event on Friday, along with Linda Thies of Kennett Jewelers.

“The Holiday Light Parade is a great way to usher in the holiday season, and we’re grateful to Carol Ciliberti, Mayor Fetick, Chief Holdsworth and the Kennett Square Police Department, and the Borough’s Public Works Department for their collaboration on this important community event,” says Kennett Collaborative Executive Director Bo Wright. “The parade is another one of the community collaborations that are at the heart of Kennett Collaborative’s ongoing work in the community.”

Through their popular Light Up the Square program, Kennett Collaborative has once again provided the town Christmas tree and tree lights to make the town bright, warm, and inviting during the parade and throughout the holiday season and the winter nights ahead. The nonprofit has also wrapped the garlands on the lampposts with new lights this year, Wright says, and more Christmas trees, festive planters, and holiday décor will be added over the coming days.

“In addition to bringing warmth and beauty to residents and visitors, our Light Up the Square and Christmas in Kennett programs support the many small businesses here in town,” Wright says. “We look forward to seeing everyone to celebrate the holidays on Friday evening and hope to see everyone back again for Small Business Saturday—to enjoy the festive atmosphere, support local, and find great, one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on their lists. Kennett Square was named ‘Best Suburban Shopping Destination’ by Main Line Today in 2019—and the town’s collection of unique shops and boutiques has not only weathered the pandemic but expanded. No retail businesses have closed, thanks to a combination of hard work, creativity, and perseverance on the part of business owners as well as significant local support added to federal and state aid. Our community has rallied around our local businesses throughout the pandemic, and we’re reminding people that shopping local and supporting small businesses is more important than ever this season.”

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Kennett Collaborative makes Kennett thrive. We intentionally create programs and events that help Kennett become a more beautiful and welcoming community where all can belong and prosper.