Gibson City's Lighted Christmas Parade

The big finale of last year’s annual Lighted Christmas Parade in Gibson City was the large float of flying reindeer pulling Santa Claus as he “came to town.” Following the parade, Santa Claus visited with more than 80 children inside Hood’s Ace Hardware. This year’s parade is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23.

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GIBSON CITY — Gibson City’s 25th annual Lighted Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce, is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, with the theme “silver bells.”

Entries in the parade will line up at two locations on the city’s south side starting at 5 p.m. — pre-lit floats in the parking lot of GAH Elite and custom floats in the parking lot of County Market. The parade will step off at 6:30 p.m. and head west on Illinois 9 before turning north onto Sangamon Avenue and heading downtown until 10th Street, when entries may pull off at any time after that.

Events downtown begin at 4 p.m. There will be fire pits set up downtown. Also, the city’s new downtown speaker system will be in place to broadcast organizations and churches taking turns doing caroling downtown from 4 to 6:30 p.m., as well as announce the parade’s entries as they move through the business district. Santa will also be visiting with children at Hood’s Ace Hardware downtown.

Twelve floats had already been registered for the parade as of Sept. 6, according to Susie Tongate, Mayor Dan Dickey and his wife, Paula, who are spearheading the organization of the parade.

Registration forms for parade entries are available by contacting Dan Dickey at It is requested that completed registration forms be returned to him before the day of the parade, if possible; however, entries will be accepted until 5 p.m. on the day of the event at County Market.

The entry that is named the overall winner will receive $300 in Gibson Bucks gift certificates. The overall winner will not be eligible to win individual categories, the winners of which will be awarded $75 in Gibson Bucks.

Entries should have lights of some kind and a sign designating the business or owner of the float. Signs will be supplied for all rental entries. Each entry is responsible for supplying electricity for their float.

It is requested that no Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus be with any entry. This is to ensure that children are not confused with there being more than one Santa and Mrs. Clause.

Not allowed are walking entries. Also, no candy or giveaway items may be thrown from a float or vehicle in the parade.

Food and craft vendors are also being sought for the parade. Anyone interested in becoming a food or craft vendor is asked to register by Nov. 4. However, last-minute vendor signups may be permitted on the night of the parade.

For more information about registering a parade entry or becoming a food or craft vendor during the parade, people can contact Dan Dickey at 217-781-1905 or Susie Tongate at 309-825-0311.