City of Lincoln
Mayor Coleen J. Seng today announced plans for the 19th annual Star City Holiday Festival produced by Updowntowners, Inc. and presented by First National Bank The parade is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, December 6 in downtown Lincoln. The theme for this year’s event is “Holiday Traditions,” and entries will include giant helium balloons, the Polar Bear Express float carrying Santa and Mrs. Claus, and the Jolly Giant Wheel.
“I am very excited to be in my first parade as Mayor, and I’m delighted my three grandchildren are coming all the way from Colorado to ride in the carriage with me,” said Mayor Seng. “It takes an enormous amount of support from community organizations, businesses and volunteers to get this parade down the street. I especially want to thank Updowntowners Inc. and First National Bank for partnering with the City to present this great holiday tradition for families.”
Deb Johnson, Executive Director of Updowntowners, Inc., said the parade is the largest of its kind in a five-state area and attracts 85,000 people to downtown Lincoln. She said planning and organizing the parade is a year-round job.
“We have already begun planning our 20th anniversary parade,” said Johnson. “One of our big challenges this year has been finding a permanent facility to store and build floats. With the help of our partners, sponsors and volunteers, we have found a float factory, so we can focus on our main task - finding new and fun ways to make the parade exciting.”
The Mayor also thanked Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center for sponsoring the Polar Bear Express float and the other major sponsors: Alltel, BryanLGH, Cellular One and Union Bank.
The parade also include unique vehicles, animal and equestrian units, walking units, costumed characters and executive clowns. Nineteen bands will march through downtown, including the UNL Cornhusker Marching Band; the 43rd Army Band; bands from all six Lincoln public high schools, Pius X and Parkview Christian; as well as bands from nine other Nebraska communities.
A panel of band professionals will judge the bands in competition. All other judging will be done by a panel of children ages 8 through 14. To enter the contest to be a judge, young people can send their name, age, address and phone number along with three to four sentences on a favorite holiday tradition to Parade Headquarters, 1200 “N” Street, Suite 101, Lincoln, NE 68508. The entry deadline is Friday, November 21.
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1293 will again offer free rides on all StarTran routes all day December 6. Those wanting information on StarTran routes and schedules can call 476-1234 or check the City website at www.lincoln.ne.gov.
Keep Lincoln & Lancaster County Beautiful is promoting the parade as litter-free event, and volunteers will be along the parade route to help collect trash and educate the public on the proper disposal of trash. To volunteer, call 441-8035 by noon Monday, November 10.
The parade will again be televised live statewide by KOLN-KGIN-TV.
A number of events are planned as part of the Star City Holiday Festival, beginning with the Holiday Lighting Ceremony from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, November 30 at Wells Fargo Plaza, 13th and “O” streets. The parade website at www.starcityholidayfestival.org includes information on all the events, plus a parade route map and parking map.