Mattoon Light Up the Night Parade kicks off Friday

Sara Maddox, Contributing Writer

The City of Mattoon is hosting its annual Celebrate Downtown Mattoon Light Up the Night Parade and Festival Friday, Dec. 7.

The festival and parade will take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and be held in Mattoon’s downtown area between 15th and 21st streets on Broadway Avenue. Admission to this event is free and open to anyone — including Eastern students.

The festival is taking place to offer a family-friendly event that celebrates Christmas and its seasonal holidays.

The aim is to create a fun, friendly, festive and enjoyable environment for the community to come together during the holiday season while also supporting Mattoon’s local businesses and attractions.  

Hailey Phillips, a sophomore nursing major who attended the event last year, said she plans to go again this year.

“I went last year not really knowing what it was, but I was needing a break while studying for finals,” Phillips said. “I love that it is during the week of finals preparation because it offers students an opportunity to take a study break, relax, have fun and enjoy our community.”

Phillips also said she was surprised how much the event offered, especially with it having free admission.

The event will have over 50 costumed characters, food vendors, the annual lighted parade, live music, horse and carriage rides, train rides, festive lighting in the park and one-night-only exclusive sales from the downtown merchants.

The Light Up the Night Parade will take place at 7:15 p.m. and begin at North 14th Street. It will go around the downtown area and end after reaching 21st Street and Western Avenue.

The Light Up the Night Parade includes vehicles and trailers all covered in a minimum of 1,500 display lights. Different businesses and organizations have places in the parade line up to help promote themselves and get involved with their community and its visitors.

Cami Draper, a senior elementary education major, has not been to the annual festival before, but says she looks forward to going for the first time this year.

“My hometown has a similar holiday festival, but I haven’t been able to go since high school because it happens when we are still in school,” Draper says, “I am most excited to eat some good food, go on a carriage ride and see all of the beautiful lights.”

To get more information on this event, you can visit its Facebook event page at

Sara Maddox can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].