Downtown Parade of Lights draws thousands

Downtown Parade of Lights draws thousands

Thousands of spectators flocked to the Armory Park neighborhood for the Downtown Parade of Lights on Saturday for what continues to be a growing event in the community.

The Downtown Tucson Partnership estimated at least 20,000 people gathered downtown for the parade, which is now in its 20th year.

Up to 75 floats and 1,700 participants drove up Stone Avenue then looped south on 6th Avenue for the two-hour event.

A jazz ensemble set the festive mood as parade organizers and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild announced the countdown for the tree lighting at Armory Park.

A group of Congolese refugee women who came to Tucson by way of Refugee Focus, a downtown non profit, performed on stage prior the parade.

Events like this not only draw thousands for a night of holiday cheer; it also brings newcomers into the community.

"Refugees really wanted to show that they really are invested in the Tucson community and they're part of it, and they're part of a larger landscape, and this is representing that," said Refugee Focus Program Director Nicolle Trudeau.

The Downtown Tucson Partnership hopes the time-honored event continues to showcase downtown and its local businesses.

Up to 200 businesses have been established since 2008, according to Downtown Tucson Partnership Marketing and PR Manager Caitlin Jensen.

"We want to support them in any way, shape or form that we can. We also really want to just provide a wonderful event for the Tucson community," Jensen said.

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