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17th Annual Holiday Parade of Lights set for Nov. 24

Perham Lions Club 17th Annual Parade of Lights is Nov. 24 beginning at 5:30 p.m. The official tree lighting is at 4:30 p.m. and a chili feed at the Cactus starts around 7:30 p.m.. Free will donations will be accepted. (FOCUS photo)

Perham's streets will sparkle with twinkling lights on Nov. 24 when the Perham Lions Club 17th Annual Holiday Parade of Lights gets underway at 5:30 p.m.

Perham Lion Linda Norby says this is such a popular event because it's a long running tradition and a great way to kick off the holiday season in Perham.

"It's that time of year, it's Thanksgiving. It's when everyone comes together and it gets people in the Christmas spirit," she said.

Families can make it an evening of holiday activities. Prior to the parade there will be the official Christmas tree lighting at NP park at 4:30 p.m., and after the parade folks can head to the Cactus for chili., a silent auction, and find out which floats were awarded first, second, and third prize. Free will donations will be accepted for the chili dinner.

The parade route will start at St. Paul's Lutheran church, pass by the nursing home, and then head down Main street. Norby said a complete map of the parade route can be found on the Chamber of Commerce web site.

She added right now there are 12 floats entered in the parade, but that they always have last minute entries.

The floats are judged on lights, creativity and holiday spirit. The winning floats are awarded Perham bucks in the amounts of $350 for first place, $250 for second place, and $150 for third place.

Dinner at the Cactus starts around 7:30 p.m. and includes chili, garlic bread, snacks, coffee and tea. All the silent auction items were donated by various business, and Norby said is she very grateful for their support.

"We just want to say thank you to the businesses for what they do to support this and to the community," Norby said.

Norby enjoys seeing how creative folks get with the floats each year, and the reaction of the crowd to floats with all the oohs and aahs. One of her favorite entries every year is the VFW float with the flag, honoring heroes.

"With all the unfortunate things that happen in the world, it's nice to have an evening like this to take us away from it, even if it is for just a little bit," she said. "I think people go home with a good feeling in their hearts."