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Helmut Schmidt, Published November 18 2009

Green Christmas: Holiday Lights Parade to use energy-saving LED lights

This year’s holiday parade organizers are dreaming of a “green” Christmas in Fargo-Moorhead. And not just because there’s no snow on the ground.

The elves organizing Tuesday night’s Xcel Energy Holiday Lights Parade encourage entrants – and onlookers – to be bright about lighting up the holidays by switching to energy-saving light emitting diode lights this year.

Entries are on track to beat last year’s 120 units, said Dave Anderson, president of Fargo’s Downtown Community Partnership.

“We’re ahead of schedule. … This may be the biggest parade yet,” Anderson said. “I’m dreaming of a green Christmas.”

The rewards for this year’s float creators, beyond the oohs and ahs of thousands of onlookers, include LED wreaths awarded to the floats judged to be one of the top three. First prize is a 60-inch wreath, second gets a

48-inch wreath and third gets a 36-inch wreath, Xcel announced.

Xcel spokeswoman Bonnie Lund said LED lights are a good investment for people who enjoy brightening the season.

She said LEDs cost more upfront, but use 75 percent less energy, produce 75 percent less heat and last 10 times longer than traditional bulb lights.

Anderson said the weather for the parade should be good.

“I look forward to the kids and the families,” he said. “It’s the launch of the season that the kids really love. That evening, it really shows.”

He encourages parents to keep an eye on their children to be sure they don’t dart onto the parade route.

“We certainly don’t want anyone to be hurt,” he said.

Fargo First Lutheran Church officials said they will serve hot cocoa, cider and cookies at the end of the parade route. There will also be a fire in the church’s west parking lot to warm parade-goers.

The entry deadline for parade units is 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The cost to enter is $30 for nonprofit groups, and $50 for for-profit firms.

Floats will be judged on:

“We’re really looking forward to a good parade,” Lund said.

If you go

  • What: Xcel Energy Holiday Lights Parade

  • Time: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

  • Parade route: Starts at Eighth Street North and Center Avenue in Moorhead and heads west to Fargo; after making a brief jog to First Avenue North to cross the Red River, the parade will resume on NP Avenue in Fargo, then turn north on Broadway and end at Sixth Avenue North.

    Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583