93.1 KISS-FM has learned the City of El Paso has set the date for the downtown Christmas tree lighting ceremony and parade.

This year’s annual festivities will take place on November 18, which is the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The unusual Sunday date will not interfere with school activities the following Monday as all of El Paso’s school districts will be on a week-long Thanksgiving break beginning on the 19th.

As we previously reported, the annual tree and park lighting ceremony will happen nearly two weeks earlier than last year. According to Rick Isaias, Lead Public Affairs Coordinator for the city, the extended time frame of the signature holiday attractions is “part of [the city’s] efforts to enhance the public’s [downtown] experience.”

Downtown El Paso and the area in and around San Jacinto Plaza will again play host to the full day of holiday entertainment that will culminate with the spectacular Winterfest Celebration of Lights nighttime parade featuring numerous floats, vehicles, and walking groups all tricked out in colorful lights. The light parade is scheduled to begin at 5:55 p.m.

In the city documents obtained, the Celebration of Lights Parade is being referred to as the “Winterfest Celebration of Lights Parade”. It's believed it means Winterfest activities will likely get underway that weekend as well. I reached out to city officials for confirmation, but have not received a reply.

Melody Parra via El Paso Parks and Recreation Facebook
Melody Parra via El Paso Parks and Recreation Facebook

In the two short years since its inception, Winterfest has become one of the city's top holiday themed events, extending the Winter Wonderland-like feeling downtown from San Jacinto Park to the Plaza Theatre area with more lights, seasonal festivities, and an outdoor ice-skating rink.

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