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Dozens of entries with hundreds of thousands of lights will brighten the streets of central Phoenix on Saturday, Dec. 6 when the APS Electric Light Parade returns for the 28th straight year. Entries for the 2014 parade will interpret the theme “Holidays in Toyland.” Mickey Mouse will serve as grand marshal.

The parade starts at 7 p.m. on Central Avenue at Montebello (just south of Bethany Home Road), heads south to Camelback Road, where it turns east to 7th Street where it turns south to the end point at Indian School Road. Comprehensive event information is available at phoenix.gov/parks or by phone at 602-534-FEST.

“Tradition is what the holidays are all about, and this is the 28th straight year for this festive event that brings our community together to celebrate the season,” Mayor Greg Stanton said.

Parade lovers also can come out during judging on Friday, Dec. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the event staging area at North Phoenix Baptist Church to see all motorized entries lit up for official review. Students from Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs will be on hand that night to present free kids’ activities, and children also can visit with Santa Claus. Visitors to the judging can enter the staging area at the church parking lot entrance on Montebello Road just east of Central Avenue.

The APS Electric Light Parade is produced by the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. In addition to entry fees and the title sponsorship of APS, the following partners and sponsors also help to make the event possible: Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, Safeway, IBEW #387, Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 99.9 KEZ, ABC15, Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs, Holiday Lights Decorating, Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, Keep Phoenix Beautiful, North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix VA Health Care System, Arizona 811, Classic Party Rentals, Republic Services and United Rentals.

Helpful tips for those planning to attend the APS Electric Light Parade:

  • Consider taking Light Rail to the event and avoiding traffic congestion. The parade route runs right next to the Light Rail stop on Central Avenue, just south of Camelback.
  • The parade is a rain or shine event. Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly.
  • Spectators are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs for seating.
  • Crowds for this event have grown very large in recent years. If spectators arrive at the parade route within 45 minutes of the start, please respect the viewing positions of those that arrived earlier and take a position along the rear edge of the crowd.
  • Spectators should try to minimize and gather any trash and litter generated during the parade to ease cleanup after the event.
  • Coolers are permitted, though alcohol and glass containers are prohibited.
  • Viewing spots along the parade route are first-come-first-served. Spectators often start arriving three or more hours before parade time to reserve spots.
  • Parking is available on city streets around the parade route and also is on a first-come-first-served basis. Private lots near the parade area often offer parking for a fee.

Images courtesy of the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department.