Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Parade of Lights brings holiday cheer

The community gathered on Main Street on Friday, Dec. 1 to celebrate the holiday season with a lighted parade. A Disney character float grabbed the attention of all the children in attendance and featured Olaf, Minnie, Mickey, and Minions.

Jingle bells, Disney characters, Santa and Mrs. Clause, and more made an appearance at this year’s annual Parade of Lights down Main Street on Dec. 1 to spread some holiday cheer. The parade is held at the beginning of December every year and features lit-up floats from community organizations. Children, families, and even pets gathered to enjoy some holiday fun. 

“A lighted holiday parade in a historic downtown just feels special,” said Lisa Dawsey Smith, Board Chair of Downtown Whitewater. “From the generally crisp feeling in the air, to seasonal displays in shop windows, to lighted floats – it just sets the tone for a celebratory season ahead.”

The holiday season is a busy time for all between finals for students, holiday shopping, family gatherings, etc. The Parade of Lights gives the community a chance to stop and just enjoy the season. 

“An intentional break is always something worthwhile,” Smith said.

In addition to the parade, other festivities are offered around town before and after the parade. Attendees visited Santa at First Citizens State Bank, made crafts and enjoyed goody bags, made s’mores, and of course, had lots of options to shop small businesses for gifts. New this year was a tree-lighting of a large evergreen by the mill pond dam.  

Generac, a power generation manufacturer local to Wisconsin, is back as a title sponsor of the event. 

“Sponsoring the parade is an example of Generac being a good neighbor and part of a local tradition,” says Kelly Skindzelewski, Community Programs Manager. “Some of our employees will also be walking in the parade to be part of this local celebration of the holiday season.”

Giving back to the communities where Generac employees live is a company standard, and Whitewater is home to a manufacturing facility. Generac has also spent time volunteering at the high school, collecting food donations, and supporting other community events. 

The Parade of Lights is a standing tradition in the community. Many community members have fond memories of the parade, and the love for the parade keeps it coming back year after year. 

“Over the years many people have lent their time to planning, participating, or viewing. It’s one of the things that makes Whitewater a special place to be any time of year,” says Smith. “My husband is a professor at UW-Whitewater. The first community event I stumbled upon was this particular parade, and as someone who didn’t grow up in a place with something like this, I was fascinated. It’s one of the reasons I knew that we could raise our children here. That’s one of my favorite stories to tell, especially this time of year.” Smith and her husband are now active volunteers in the parade and other community events. 

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