Louisville, KY., – The city’s largest and most beloved holiday event, Light Up Louisville, returns for the 38th year on Nov. 23, outside of Metro Hall in Jefferson Square.
Light Up Louisville is the official starting point for the holiday season in Louisville. This event has become a holiday tradition for scores of residents and their visiting friends and family. It is a day full of excitement, entertainment and community.
“Light Up Louisville is the perfect way for our city to usher in the holidays,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “After a big Thanksgiving meal the day before, grab your kids and relatives and join us outside for some fresh air, fun and fireworks!”
Light Up Louisville, always held the Friday after Thanksgiving, begins at 4 p.m., with children and families invited to take part in Santa’s Workshop, located this year in decorated chalets on Fifth and Jefferson streets. There, children can decorate cookies, write letters to Santa and send holiday cards to our troops, courtesy of Ford/UAW 862.
There will be a vendor village at Sixth and Jefferson streets, with holiday crafts, treats and gifts for sale. And the Louisville Visitor Center on Fourth and Jefferson will be open during Light Up Louisville, offering giveaways, treats and activities.
There will not be an outdoor ice rink this year, but Light Up has added a 15-passenger train that children can ride around the block from Fifth and Jefferson to Market at no cost.
The main Light Up Louisville stage on the west lawn of Metro Hall will feature live entertainment beginning at 4 p.m. until the start of the Lots of Lights parade at 6:30 p.m. Performances include some of Louisville’s most talented groups, including Six Steps to Heaven, Envy Dance Team, Classic Melodies “Top Note” and Motown Christmas. Stephen Gould will headline the stage before the start of the parade.
The Lots of Lights Parade starts at Fourth and Liberty streets and turns onto Jefferson Street and disperses at Seventh and Jefferson streets. Jesse and MJ from 106.9 Play!, Louisville’s official Christmas radio station, will emcee the parade announcements. Various units, including floats, bands, carolers, car clubs, children’s groups and civic organizations, will march through downtown and disperse at Seventh and Jefferson streets. The parade will end with the arrival of a special guest from the North Pole, Santa Claus.
Around 8 p.m., Mayor Fischer and Santa will gather on stage to illuminate the city Christmas tree located in Jefferson Square. The tree was donated by Christ Church United Methodist. The official Light Up moment will feature Zambelli fireworks, lasers and thousands of Christmas lights throughout downtown.
Following the Light Up moment, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m., entertainment on the main stage will resume with a performance from Eight Inch Elvis. Children and families are invited to get a free picture with Santa Claus inside Santa’s House on Fifth and Jefferson streets.
For over 14 years, Light Up Louisville has been made possible through the support of Louisville’s largest utility company, LG&E.
“Light Up Louisville is a wonderful holiday tradition. We are proud and excited to help bring this free family event to our community,” said Paul W. Thompson, chairman, CEO and president of LG&E and KU Energy. “Light Up Louisville is a memory-maker for everyone, and it is another terrific opportunity to showcase all Louisville has to offer.”
“Louisville is known across the world for its unique festivals and events. As the city continues to grow its offerings as a regional destination for the holidays, Light Up Louisville is a great kickoff to the season,” says Karen Williams, President & CEO of Louisville Tourism, silver sponsor of this year’s Light Up Louisville. “This one-of-a-kind, free, family-friendly celebration serves as a great anchor for families to plan a visit around the arts, museums and other local attractions featuring holiday events.”
The holidays are a perfect time to spread a little more compassion. Mayor Fischer asks residents to get involved in this year’s community-wide Toys for Tots drive a week after Light Up, on Friday, November 30. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day, a special drive-thru lane will be set up in front of Metro Hall for an easy drop-off. Marines will be on site to assist.
Light Up Louisville sponsors include: LG&E, Louisville Tourism, Amazon, AT&T, Ford/UAW 862, Hyatt Regency, MetroPCS, Papa Murphy’s, 106.9 Play!, Louisville Magazine, Outfront Media, and WLKY.
Special thanks to ABCO Bramer Crane Services, Bob Ray Tree Company, Costco, Electrical Maintenance, Heine Brothers Metro Parks and Recreation and Sunbelt Rentals.
Mayor Fischer urges people to share their photos from Light Up Louisville on social media using the hashtag #AroundLou.
For more information, go to: www.lightuplouisville.org.