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, November 30th 2023 | 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 1st 2023 | 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.
5 PM Float Line-Up:
- Parade line-up starts at 5pm at United Methodist Church on Ball Park Road. The parade will start moving at 6pm.
- It will definitely be cold, and possibly breezy tonight! We intend to continue with the parade regardless. Please bundle up and reinforce your floats as needed.
- NO extra vehicles will be allowed in the line-up area for any reason. If you need to drop off kids, cocoa, supplies, etc you will need to park along the driveway leading to the church and walk, or bring them in on the float. No exceptions. We have had issues with extra vehicles blocking the entire parade and exit in the past.
- Floats will line up in an organized fashion in concentric circles around the church building (click here to view the line-up diagram). We will fill up loop 1, then fill up loop 2, and finally loop 3. When it is time to start the parade, all of loop 1 will exit, followed by loop 2 then loop 3.
- Floats do NOT need to line up in order of the number they've been assigned. Please line up in the order you arrive. The number is simply to help the judges and radio announcer identify the business/club.
- Horses may get ready in the fairground area, and join into the parade on Ball Park Road. You may leave your horse trailers and other vehicles in that area.
- If you already have your float number, please attach it anywhere on the passenger side of your float. The judges will be stationed at the corner of Junction and Main in front of the Motorcycle Museum.
- If you do not have your float number, we will check you off our list and give it to you at the entrance to the line up area. There are magnetic strips on the back of the numbers to attach to your vehicle.
For questions, please contact our office at (605) 347-2556. We will be closing early at about 4pm to prepare the line-up area. Happy Holidays! We look forward to seeing you all!
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.
This parade is open to Sturgis and Black Hills area business 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, pay your fee (non-members), and receive your float number.
Parade Entry Registration Fee:
Sturgis Chamber members can register floats for free. Non-members require a $20 fee per float, payable by mail, phone, or in our office at 2040 Junction Avenue.
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
2022 Parade of Lights Float Award Recipients
- Heartstrings Award: Trinity Lutheran Church
- Judges' Choice Award: CBH CO-OP
- Best Lights Award: Premier Equipment
- Best Sound Award: The Knuckle Saloon
2021 Parade of Lights Float Award Recipients
- Heartstrings Award: Mel's Miniatures
- Judges' Choice Award: Loftus Dental
- Best Lights Award: Black Hills Title Company
- Best Sound Award: The Knuckle Saloon