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.
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.
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.
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