PHOENIX — The floats and parade balloons will return to central Phoenix this season for the 34th APS Electric Light Parade.
After having to cancel last year's in-person event because of pandemic-related concerns, the City of Phoenix's Parks and Recreation Department recently confirmed that the traditional holiday parade would return on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021.
This year's theme is "Peace on Earth."
It's back! The lights and sounds of the APS Electric Light Parade will fill the streets of central #PHX on Saturday, Dec. 4. @apsFYI and @CityofPhoenixAZ invite you for a night of community & celebration themed "Peace on Earth." Details in #PHXNewsroom:https://t.co/v2KgRUKMBQ pic.twitter.com/ZGrFdzSdJs— Phoenix Parks and Recreation (@PhoenixParks) November 1, 2021
The free hour-long parade is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. near Central and Montebello avenues. It then travels south to Central Avenue and Camelback, goes east on Camelback to 7th Street, and follows 7th Street to Indian School Road.
People will be able to line up along the parade route to watch the parade like normal. Because thousands typically attend the event, people are encouraged to line up hours before the event. Chairs and blankets are OK. All areas are open on a first-come, first-served basis.
Parking is also first-come, first-served. Parking is available along the streets, at meters, or at private parking lots (fees will apply). The Valley Metro Light Rail has a stop near the parade at Camelback Road and Central Avenue.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, officials said they have reduced the number of floats allowed in the parade, including eliminating marching bands and performance groups, and canceled a pre-parade event that typically happens the day before.
ABC15 will also be at the event. We will have a live stream of the event on our Facebook page and website and will re-broadcast the parade at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, and again on Christmas Day at 6 a.m. It will also be broadcast on CW61 Arizona at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021.
“The APS Electric Light Parade is a family tradition that kicks off the holidays in Arizona,” said Anita Helt, ABC15 vice president and general manager, in a statement. “After a tough year for so many, we are thrilled to have a part in contributing to the smiles, laughter and positive energy that the festive season brings."
It's one of many holiday events to check out this season.
- Downtown Tempe's Fantasy of Lights parade and tree lighting will be held on Nov. 26, 2021, followed by the Tempe Festival of Arts on Dec. 3-5, 2021, and the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade on Dec. 11, 2021.
- Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo returns Nov. 24, 2021 - Jan. 15, 2022. Select nights will be drive-thru-style for the zoo's "Cruise Zoo Lights" event.
- Chandler will light its iconic Tumbleweed Tree on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2021.
- Scottsdale will host a sing-along and tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 to kick off its "Scottsdazzle" events
- Merry Main Street in downtown Mesa begins Nov. 26, 2021, and runs through Jan. 2, 2022.
- World of Illumination will again have two drive-thru holiday light displays at Diablo Stadium in Tempe and at Desert Diamond West Valley Casino in Glendale. "Reindeer Road" opens Nov. 12 in Tempe and "Candy Rush" opens Nov. 17 in Glendale.
Glendale Glitters will not happen this year in Glendale. Instead, lights will still be illuminated at Murphy Park, but will not be up throughout the downtown area as in previous years.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that marching bands and performance groups will not be allowed to participate in this year's APS Electric Light Parade as part of the city's COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Groups may have to modify their entry to participate, according to the official guidelines.