The annual Lights of the Ozarks kickoff parade will have a new route this year, thanks to the efforts of a few local business owners.
Instead of simply circling the square, the parade of floats will continue along Block Avenue and onto Dickson Street to coincide with the recent expansion of the annual lighting display.
Doug Allen, co-owner of Jose’s and a representative of the newly formed Dickson Street Merchants Association, said he asked parade organizers at the University of Arkansas Hospitality Department about the change, and they were on board with the idea.
“All the businesses on Block and Dickson are putting up lights this year, and with the city adding lights of their own, it just makes sense to include us in the parade route,” Allen said. “We’re really happy they felt the same way.”
The Fayetteville City Council voted in August to expand Lights of the Ozarks using city money and a $10,000 pledge from the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission.
Allen said he thinks the expanded route could lead to a better, safer parade this year.
“I’ve participated in the parade the last few years, and there are so many people on the square that I’ve worried about safety,” he said. “I think this will allow the parade to breath a little more.”
Hazel Hernandez, events coordinator for the Fayetteville Visitors Bureau, said she is still finalizing the exact parade route which will be released early next week. Update: Map added above
The Lights of the Ozarks parade and lighting ceremony begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23. In addition over the 450,000 holiday lights, the event also includes nightly carriage rides, camel rides and pony rides, hot chocolate and coffee vendors, and other activities.
For more information, visit lightsoftheozarks.com.