Bradley Christmas Parade

Members of the Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School marching band wear festive hats and lights as they march in the annual Bradley Christmas Parade in 2019. After not being able to take part in last year’s modified event, school bands will be back for the 2021 parade.

BRADLEY — The 36th annual Bradley Lighted Christmas Parade is set to make its way down Broadway Street again.

The village is returning to its traditional parade format after converting to a drive-thru format last year due to the pandemic.

That format — which allowed cars to drive down Broadway to see floats set up in a stationary fashion alongside the road — proved to be successful as more than 700 cars took part to get some holiday cheer.

But the village will make a return to normal this year and have parade attendees line the roadway while floats make their way down the street at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3. To honor the return, this year’s parade theme is “Jingle All the Way Down Broadway.”

“We have a couple of special guests that are grand marshaling this year, so it’s very exciting,” said Kym Nelson, the village’s marketing and community engagement coordinator and deputy clerk.

Nelson added that the village plans to add more on-the-ground activities to this year’s event. Those events, which will likely include activities like photo booths, will start about an hour or two prior to the parade.

All float entries must be lighted. Float judging includes overall appearance, best use of lights and theme. There will be cash prizes for top floats and for each school marching band.

“I’d say that’s what was really missing last year was the school participation,” Nelson said. “With COVID, it was just difficult to include [schools] with the mitigations.”

Individuals, companies and organizations looking to have a float in the parade are welcome to submit entry forms. They are to be submitted by Nov. 10 and can be mailed to Bradley Christmas Parade, 147 S. Michigan, Bradley, 60915; faxed to 815-933-9496; or emailed to parade@bradleyil.org. For questions, call Nelson at 815-936-5103.

“We’re excited to be able to have everyone come back,” Nelson said. “It brings camaraderie with the bands marching and the different floats and trucks.”

The village is also planning a business-decorating contest for businesses on Broadway Street and will be announcing information on that soon via social media. Nelson said this will be in conjunction with Shop Small Saturday, held Nov. 27, and winning businesses will be announced on the day of the parade.

“We will give out the prizes at the first village board meeting in December, which will be a donation to the favorite charity [of the winning business],” Nelson said.

Additionally, the village is hosting the third annual holiday house decorating contest and will be releasing details closer to Thanksgiving. The village is currently in the midst of its Halloween house decorating contest, which closes at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 22.