Parade of Lights

Due to regulations associated with COVID-19, the Parade of Lights is going to look a little different this year.

Instead of bringing the parade to the people, we’re going to have the people go to the parade. We’re working closely with the city and police department to convert Cruse Ave to a one-way street, with people entering from Park Ave and exiting from Broadway. The floats and displays will then be set up for people to look at as they drive by with the fire tower lit up in the background the whole time from 6-7:30 pm.

Better yet, we’ve partnered with Helena Toys for Tots and Helena Food Share to support those in need during the holiday season. To donate directly to Helena Food Share, please visit this link and be sure to share it with your family and friends.

As for Toys for Tots, not only will we have their bins set up at the entrance on Park Avenue for you to drop your donated toys in, but local businesses Montana Book Company, Lasso the Moon, and Montana Outdoor Sports will have stalls at the end of the parade for you to purchase toys in case you forgot to bring one.

All without getting out of your car!

When: Friday, November 27th from 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Where: Cruse Ave, from Park Avenue to Broadway

Who: Anyone feeling the holiday spirit who wants to check out some festive floats and donate to two great causes.

What: One-way parade where attendees will drive through the floats in their own cars to enable safe social distancing.

How: We ask attendees to start driving on the one-way Cruse Ave from Park Ave to Broadway. Floats and displays will be set up on both sides of the road, in addition to the Fire Tower lit up throughout the evening. And don’t forget to bring your Toys for Tots donation or donate to Helena Food Share HERE.



DHI is also hosting our second annual Poster Contest for Parade of Lights for interested local artists!

Submissions are due November 9th. Voting will then commence the week after, with the poster being used and shared across social media platforms and various businesses in the weeks leading up to the Parade of Lights on November 27th. If interested, please use the information provided above in an artistic, inviting, and festive style. That includes:

  • Date and time, along with parade route
  • General description of the parade
  • Partnership with Toys for Tots and Helena Food Share

Submit your poster design to Mike Rooney at [email protected] by November 9th.

The 2020 Parade Theme is Candy Land

The Parade of Lights is a Downtown holiday tradition to kick off the holiday season co-sponsored by the Helena Business Improvement District and Downtown Helena, Inc.  This event gathers friends and families together to officially start the holiday season off with a parade and festivities.

Be a spectator or sign up and participate in the parade with a stationary float or display. After the parade, be sure to swing by local downtown businesses to support them during the holiday season.

Parade Route

As mentioned before, this year will look a bit different thanks to COVID-19. The floats and displays will be lined up along Cruse Avenue, with attendees allowed to drive down Cruse from Park Avenue to view the floats as they drive by to Broadway.

Toys for Tots will have donation bins set up at the beginning of the route, and we’re working with Helena Food Share to set up a system to support those in need during this event.

UPDATE: Breakfast with Santa is sadly canceled this year due to safety concerns with COVID-19.

Holiday Moments Happen Downtown




The Parade of Lights is a Downtown Holiday tradition to kick off the holiday season. Businesses, clubs, school groups, teams, non-profit organizations, and individuals are encouraged to participate by entering a float or large display. These will then be parked along Cruse Avenue for attendees to drive by and view from 6:00 – 7:30 pm.

Parade Route and Staging Information

Cruse Ave will be closed to two-way traffic, with attendees driving down Park Avenue and entering Cruse from there. The adjacent streets will be cordoned off to ensure that the flow of traffic follows the correct direction. Parade participants are asked to set up on either side of Cruse for attendees to drive by on their way from Park Ave to Broadway. Float participants are asked to set up between 4 – 5:30 pm; first come, first serve. Volunteers will be on hand to help with directing traffic and collection toy donations for Helena Toys for Tots and monetary donations to Helena Food Share.

$65 Registration fee for all non-members; members of Downtown Helena, Inc., aren’t required to pay an extra fee to participate. 

For questions email Mike Rooney.