Last minute preps for Saturday's Lights Fantastic Parade - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Last minute preps for Saturday's Lights Fantastic Parade

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CARBONDALE -- The 27th Annual Lights Fantastic Parade takes place this Saturday. Tuesday, groups worked to put the final touches on floats.

Several thousand people are expected to line the streets for the area's only lighted parade. The parade starts at 6 p.m. but Public Relations Officer, Amy Fox, says the fun starts at 4 p.m. 

"There will be photos with the reindeer and Mrs. Clause at the Town Square Pavilion. We also we will have a chill supper going on at the Carbondale Civic Center," said Fox. 

Because the event is getting so popular, with several thousand spectators expected, they've added parking locations. Shuttles will be taking folks from SIU's Arena and Student Center, The University Mall and The Murdale Shopping Center every 15 minutes. 

"Thats a free service. You just hop on board and they'll take you to all the action downtown," said Fox. 

Action that Don Snider says you don't want to miss. He's been making and mainting floats for the parade for 25 years and says they work very hard to put on a good show. 

"This one here has 20,000 lights on it and each one of those has to be checked and maintained every year," said Snider. 

He says checking the lights, making sure wheels on the floats are turning and chimney's are puffing out smoke, takes hours of matenance.

"We'll spend anywhere from 8 to 16 hours making sure everything is good to go," said Snider. 

Fox says she's excited for people to check out the revamped downtown area, and give local businesses a boost in sales. 

"It's a great way to kick off the holiday season and what better way to do that than downtown where there's restaurants and different unique shops," said Fox.  

She says US Highway 51 and Illinois Avenue will be closed from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. So folks are encourged to take advantage of the shuttle service.

News 3's Kevin Hunsperger and WDDD Radio's Wes Bennett will serve as Masters of Ceremonies for the parade.

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