Frequently Asked Questions

Get Involved
What is the Columbus Festival of Lights Parade?
Columbus Festival of Lights is an annual event where the community gathers to watch illuminated floats grace the street of the City of Columbus, Indiana. Thousands gather to create new traditions and remember nostalgic times from their childhood. The Lights Festival is an event where people of all backgrounds and beliefs can come together to have an uplifting, positive, and unforgettable experience! We love seeing the variation of significance this event has for different people. We hope you’ll join us!
What is the date of the event?
Saturday December 2, 2023 at 6 pm. The parade lasts approximately an hour.
(The event will happen the first Saturday of December each year following.)
Where Can I Park?
You can park in any of the legal street, garage or parking lots available throughout the downtown area that is not blocked off. Plan to arrive up to an hour early and to walk a bit. For more parking information and resources visit the City of Columbus website here.
What if the Event is canceled?
INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY: The Columbus Festival of Lights Parade is an outdoor event we sometimes encounter unpredictable or bad weather. We will make a final decision on moving forward with the event based on the safety of our entries and attendees by noon on the day of the event. Once a decision has been made, we will email all entries via the email provided, post to our website and all social media feeds, and inform local media outlets.

Parade entry fees for accepted entries are non-refundable. There is no ‘reschedule date’ should the parade be canceled or shortened due to inclement weather.

Usually, the parade will be held in rain, snow, or clear weather. In the event of inclement weather, the parade will go on schedule, except in the event of extreme and/or dangerous conditions such as ice storms, temperatures (including wind chill) nearing zero degrees, blizzards, etc. The Parade Committee defines these conditions as situations when the downtown streets cannot be cleared by the City of Columbus AND/OR it is deemed unsafe to be outside by the National Weather Service. Should inclement weather occur prior to the parade, the Festival of Lights Parade Committee will determine if it is sufficiently severe to cancel or delay the parade.

If the parade is canceled, it will not be rescheduled for a later date.

All participants should make provisions for foul weather.
How do I share my photos?
We invite parade entrants and spectators to tag us directly using @ColumbusFestivalofLights; additionally, we would like entries to share posts using the hashtag: #CFoL2023
Is the parade family and animal friendly?
The Columbus Festival of Lights is for all ages! There’s nothing like seeing the amazement in a child’s eyes while they gaze up into this genuinely magical sight. There is ample security at each event.
We love your pets! … but we caution bringing them to the event. We do make exceptions for service animals. Keep in Mind that loud music and flashing lights may provide an uncomfortable atmosphere for your animal. They must be kept on a leash.
Creating memories that will last a lifetime is what we are all about! We hope to see you at The Lights Fest!
Can I throw things from my entry in the parade?
Per the City of Columbus and Columbus Police Department, candy or any other objects MAY NOT be thrown from parade entries. If you wish to distribute any goodies, walkers may hand items to spectators along the route. Walkers must be at the curb. Safety is our primary concern and we will enforce this policy.
What is the Parade Route This Year?
Will There Be Awards Given for the Best and Most Creative Floats?
Award winners will be named at the end of the parade. A list of float categories for this year will be announced soon.
Where’s the best place to sit to see the Parade?
There are many great places to view the Parade. We suggest Washington Street from 4th Street to 9th Street. Please be aware of the safety line and try to remain behind that line. We also ask that you respect law enforcement and security as they are there to keep the parade safe and fun for everyone.
What types of groups are in the parade?
The parade has a variety of units including floats, bands, balloons, and marching units.
What Can I Do to Help with the Parade?
We hope you’ll get involved with us and make this the best Christmas parade we’ve ever had. Here are just a few things you can do: Like us on Facebook, share the event with your friends, and click here to volunteer for the parade.
How do I register to have a float in the parade?
You will need to fill out an application on the applications page. 
How can my business get involved?
There are various ways businesses can be involved in the Parade, from sponsorships to parade entries. Email Below
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