The Chamber & Visitor Bureau’s annual Tree Lighting and Parade of Lights events are two of Sturgis’s best-attended activities of the year! The festivities are split over two days and feature a Tree Lighting Ceremony in the town square on Thursday evening, followed the next day by a parade through town featuring local business floats decked out in lights.
Annual Sturgis Tree Lighting Ceremony
Thursday, December 2nd | 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
The Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday is a special opportunity to gather as a community and enjoy family, friends, and the holiday spirit. Organizations set up booths around Harley-Davidson Rally Point at the corner of Main Street and Harley-Davidson Way (2nd Street) with free candy canes, hot cocoa, cider, popcorn, and even roasted chestnuts! The Loud American also offers their famous hot toddies for sale to adults during the festivities. The Mayor traditionally invites children on stage to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and counts down to the official tree lighting.
Annual Sturgis Parade of Lights
Friday, December 3rd | 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
The Parade of Lights takes place on the following Friday evening. Businesses prepare colorful and brightly-lit floats for weeks leading up to this event! The Chamber appoints judges to determine winners in several float categories, including the “Heartstrings” Award, Judges’ Choice Award, Best Lights Award, and Best Sound Award. This competition is fierce and ensures a phenomenal parade for spectators! Attendees are encouraged to browse shops along the parade route before, during, and after the event. Float registration for the 2021 parade is now closed.
PARADE ROUTE *UPDATED*:
5 PM Float Line-Up:
Floats will line up in the United Methodist Church parking area. Horses should get ready on the opposite side of the street, at the entrance to the old fairgrounds (you may park your horse trailers here as well). Walking parade participants should plan to join the parade at the Sturgis Elementary School parking lot entrance and join at the beginning of the main parade at the intersection of Arizona Ave and Ball Park Road. When the parade starts, floats will move south and east down Ball Park Road in one long line moving south and east over the railroad and onto Junction Avenue, to continue along the regular route.
6 PM Parade Start:
- Parade floats move south and east down Ball Park Road towards Junction Avenue.
- Turn left onto Junction Avenue.
- Turn right onto Harmon Street.
- Turn left onto Fulton Street.
- Turn left onto Park Street.
- Turn right onto Junction Avenue and follow for 10 blocks.
- Turn left onto Main Street and follow for 4 blocks.
7:30 PM Parade End:
End at Main & 4th Street - disburse or circle back to Ball Park Road.
PARADE FLOAT AWARDS:
A panel of judges will determine winners in the following categories:
- Judges' Choice
- Best Holiday Sound
- Light of the Parade
- Heartstrings Award
This parade is open to floats, bands, choirs, horses, and other entries upon approval by the Chamber! If you would like to enter the parade, please call/visit/email the Chamber office to be added to the registration list and receive your float number. Registration can be submitted by businesses, clubs, and organizations from the Black Hills area. There is no charge to participate! Registration is due by Monday, November 29th.
2020 Parade of Lights Float Award Recipients
- Heartstrings Award: Sturgis/Meade County Animal Shelter
- Judges' Choice Award: Sturgis Buccaneers Youth Football and Cheer
- Best Lights Award: Twisted Canyon Crossfit/Greenscape/Xtreme Dakota Bicycles
- Best Sound Award: Logans Transmission
2019 Parade of Lights Float Award Recipients
- Heartstrings Award: Rapid City BMX
- Judges’ Choice Award: The Knuckle Saloon
- Best Lights Award: Werlinger Auto Body/The Mystique Edge
- Best Sound Award: Black Hills Exteriors