The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is hoping the second edition of the Light Up the Boulevard 2.0 will top the first.
Organizers of the 2013 Light Up the Boulevard Holiday Festival have made some additions and improvements for the second installment, which will take place Saturday, Nov. 23, from 5 to 9 p.m. in the town center.
"For a first year, I thought it was great," said event co-chair Liz Wilbert said of the inaugural parade. Last year's parade was just two-tenths of a mile, but marchers were met by an enthusiastic public.
"We had no idea they'd be six deep," Wilbert said of the crowd along the parade route. In response, this year's parade is longer and will follow the same path down Grand Island Boulevard as the annual Independence Day parade. A Rudolph Run, a 1-kilometer fun run from Marston's Power Equipment down Grand Island Boulevard to the chamber, will begin at 5 p.m.
The location for the parade and the after-party are all "new and improved," Wilbert said. She noted there are already more than 20 marching groups signed up to take part, and there is still time to take part in the festivities, as a vendor, runner or marcher, by contacting the chamber at 2257 Grand Island Blvd. or 716-773-3651.
Light Up the Boulevard is a Grand Island Chamber of Commerce event with cooperation from the Town of Grand Island, Wilbert said.
Other features of the festival:
•"Santa's Wonderland" will be located in the front of Town Hall.
•Runners and marchers and pedestrians only will turn into the Town Hall parking lot, with festivalgoers then crossing over the Town Commons bridge to the fire pits and the vendor area.
•The block of Whitehaven Road between Baseline Road and Grand Island Boulevard will be closed to normal traffic. Parade units and vendors will line each side of the street during the festival.
•The town's Christmas tree will be lit at the flagpole in the Town Commons at 6 p.m.
•Entertainment will be located at the intersection of Whitehaven Road and Grand Island Boulevard, featuring the Grand Island Youth Choir as well as Jack Civiletto singing Frank Sinatra.
•Traditional holiday activities like marshmallow toasting, caroling, and visits with Santa, sponsored by Kelly's Country Store, will be available. Santa will arrive in a horse-drawn wagon or sleigh.
•A holiday movie will be shown and vendors will be selling hot chocolate along with other food choices.
•Island businesses will have their storefronts lighted, with judging to take place on Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. Winner of the Best Light Up Store Front award will receive a $90 chamber membership.
"It's a family event," Wilbert said.
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce would like to thank sponsors for helping make Light Up the Boulevard Electric Parade and Festival possible:
Joy LaMarca, Esq./Block, Longo & Associates, PC
Mallwitz's Island Lanes
Martin's Fantasy Island