Planning the Annual Tree Lighting & Parade of Lights; Kiara’s Process

Being the Events Coordinator here at the Chamber for just over a year, I have had some fun times putting chamber events together! The next few events that are just around the corner are the Annual Sturgis Chamber Tree Lighting and the Annual Chamber Sturgis Parade of Lights. 


These two events are some of my favorites to plan every year! They were the first events that I helped with when I started this amazing job. I think they are great events to get the Sturgis community in the holiday spirit. Did you know that in 2020, we will hold the 39th Annual Sturgis Chamber Parade of Lights and the 17th Annual Sturgis Chamber Tree Lighting?! That is amazing that for nearly 40 years, the Sturgis community has shown their support for the holiday season. 


There are many factors that go into planning these events. I would say that I start the process in early November, right after the Chamber’s Crypt Haunted House is packed away for the year. 


One of the first things I do when thinking about these events is looking at all of the things I recorded from last year. Those things may include, who I contacted to do live music at Harley-Davidson Rally Point for the Tree Lighting, what kind of treats organizations handed out for donations, check to see which restaurant helped with the Hot Toddy drinks, make sure that we have our special events license submitted to the city, and many other things! 


There are also some things that stay the same every year. Things such as Mayor Carstensen reading a story, an appearance by Santa, and of course the actual lighting of the tree! The one thing that NEVER changes is the amazing community members that attend, participate, and support each other this time of year. 


Along with the Annual Sturgis Chamber Tree Lighting, there is the Annual Sturgis Chamber Parade of Lights. The Parade of Lights is a fun event that encourages members from not only the Sturgis community but from surrounding communities to get into the holiday spirit! 


The Parade of Lights is one of the best events that the chamber puts on every year. In 2019, we had over 40 floats participate! Businesses from Spearfish, Rapid City, and Sturgis contributed to the overall holiday excitement of this event last year. And I know this year is going to spread even more holiday joy! 


When planning the Parade of Lights, the very first thing I do is look at the previous year’s registration form. From there, I create the current year’s form, then make it accessible to the public. This year I took a different route and made an online form using google forms. I thought that doing this would make it easier for businesses and organizations from further away to access and register. 


Once the form is created and made public, I look at all the forms from last year and send an email to all of the previous participants letting them know that we would love for them to participate again. This year was especially easy since I made the registration form online! From there, it is just a waiting game. 


I am super excited for this year’s Tree Lighting & Parade of Lights events to take place. This year more than ever people will appreciate being able to do things like these with loved ones, community members, and co-workers. This last month of 2020 will be the best month of 2020! 


Be sure to come to these events this year! The Tree Lighting is Thursday, December 3rd and the Parade is Friday, December 4th!


Check out our pages about these events by clicking the button below:


Annual Tree Lighting & Parade of Lights


Check out the Facebook Event pages by clicking the buttons below:


Annual Sturgis Tree Lighting


Annual Sturgis Parade of Lights