The date is set for one of El Paso’s most celebrated holiday traditions.

The Celebration of Lights Parade and the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony return to Downtown El Paso on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and this year we can all return, too.

“After a year hiatus of our parade and programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are excited to once again celebrate WinterFest in person,” Cultural Affairs and Recreation Managing Director Ben Fyffe said in a city press release.

He was referring to the surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths that forced the city to cancel all the usual activities and "modify" its presentation to basically just the lights and decorations of San Jacinto Plaza.

El Paso Parks and Recreation

Celebration of Lights Date Set

But on Saturday, November 20, the area in and around San Jacinto Plaza will once again play host to the full day of holiday entertainment that will include the Christmas tree lighting and culminate with the spectacular nighttime parade featuring numerous floats, vehicles, and walking groups all tricked out in colorful lights.

The plaza itself will twinkle with hundreds of thousands of cheery bright lights and Christmas decorations to dazzle the 50,000 spectators expected. Meaning Downtown is going to be lit -- both literally and figuratively.

Schedule of Events and Activities

Although a schedule of events has not been released, typically the live music and entertainment begins at 4:30 p.m., the light parade gets going at 5:30 p.m. and the mayor pulls the switch that lights up the Christmas tree at 5:55 p.m.

El Paso Winterfest

Winterfest programming for Nov. 20 has not been announced either, but in past years it's included the Downtown Artist and Farmer's Market holding a Holiday Market on the Pedestrian Pathway next to Southwest University Park beginning at noon, an outdoor ice-skating rink in the Arts Festival Plaza, and the El Paso Streetcars being put into use, because, well, we’re paying for them so we may as well do something with them.

El Paso Winterfest Facebook

It’s also likely Holiday Movies at the Plaza will return this Christmas season as well.

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