Twinkling lights and holiday tunes will fill the streets of downtown Cape Girardeau Sunday night for the 20th annual Parade of Lights.
About 100 floats are expected to take part in this year's parade, which begins at 5 p.m. Sunday. It's the only parade in the area that requires all entries to have lights and music, said Nicholle Hinkle, project manager with Old Town Cape.
"A lot of parades may just have a vehicle driving through, or someone may be walking, but not singing. It makes it more interesting because there's always something going on with every entry," Hinkle said.
This year's theme, selected by parade co-chairmen Kent and Vicki Zickfield, is "Picture Perfect Christmas."
"The unique thoughts that go into creating the floats are amazing. Nobody does the same thing. We encourage them to go along with the theme, but sometimes people do and sometimes people don't. It's really interesting to see what people put together," Hinkle said.
This year's parade grand marshals are the Hutson family, of Hutson's Fine Furniture. The store with its well-known Christmas window displays sits at the end of the parade route. This year's Old Town Cape Christmas ornament features Hutson's, so Hinkle said the family was a perfect choice for grand marshal.
The parade route will start at Capaha Park and proceeds down Broadway turns on Main Street and ends at Merriwether Street. Several businesses along the route will be open and may provide drinks and snacks for paradegoers.
There is a 30 percent chance of rain for Sunday, and Hinkle said she's watching the weather forecast carefully. A decision whether to postpone the parade will be made by noon Sunday. A rain date of Dec. 4 has already been set.
While Cape Girardeau has the first Christmas parade in the area this season, several other communities have parades planned.
* Perryville, Mo., will have its Holiday Lighting event Dec. 2, including a parade around the downtown square, a live Nativity scene, a meet-and-greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a performance by the Perryville Elementary School choir. Local businesses will pass out treats and hot beverages. Following the parade, the drive-thru light display in The Perry Park Center will be lit for the first time and remain lit nightly for the rest of the month. This year, the St. Vincent's church youth group is joining into the Holiday Lighting event with its Operation Light Bulb.
"Their goal is to have every house in Perryville have at least a strand of lights on their house to go along with the Holiday lighting ceremony," said Brein Bishop of the Perryville Area Chamber of Commerce. "I hope to see a lot more houses lit up this year." People may donate strands of lights to help with Operation Light Blub at the Perryville Chamber office, 2 W. Sainte Maries St. They may also come to the chamber office to pick up a free strand of lights.
* The Jackson Jaycee Foundation Christmas Parade will be at 2 p.m. Dec. 3. The parade will start around the high school and go up to Main Street and then down to Farmington Road. About 50 organizations and businesses have already entered this year's parade, said Cheryl Merkler of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce. She expects there to be nearly 100 entries by parade day.
* The Chaffee Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its annual Christmas parade at 1 p.m. Dec. 3. This year's theme is "A Cowboy Christmas." The parade will begin in the Head Start parking lot on North Main Street and end at the Country C.B. parking lot on Highway 77.
Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Perryville, Mo