City prepares for Lights Fantastic Parade

By Gus Bode

Another Christmas season in Carbondale means, aside from the lighted wreaths and candy cane decorations, the return of the annual Lights Fantastic Parade.

The 17th annual Lights Fantastic Parade will light up Saturday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The parades route means several intersections throughout Carbondale will be blocked off beginning at 5 p.m. and will not be open again until 7:15 p.m.

“It’s one of the largest events in Carbondale and the only city parade,” said Meghan Cole, executive director of Carbondale Main Street, the organization that handles the planning and promotion for the parade. “The community really comes out for this event.”


Detours will be put in place around the parade route and will block off downtown Carbondale from vehicle traffic. Any vehicles still parked within the detour zone will be towed.

Southbound traffic on University Avenue will not be detoured, but motorists will be advised to slow down between Freeman Street and Grand Avenue.

Among the parade participants will be The Carbondale Boys and Girls Club and the Carbondale Lions Club. This year will mark the second year of participation for the Boys and Girls club, and the 17th for the Lions Club.

The Boys and Girls Club choir and cheerleading squads will be in the parade, as well as a decorated car made by the children of the organization.

Sunshine Dzierzynski-Wilson, program director of the Boys and Girls Club, remembers their first year at the parade.

“It was cold and fast,” Dzierzynski-Wilson said. “Otherwise the kids had a good time.”

Paul Sorgen, President of the Carbondale Lions Club, said they have participated in the event since it’s beginning, but this year will be the first year they do not have a float in the parade. Instead, a woman dressed as a lion will represent their club this year.


“We used to have a float in it, but we gave it away to someone else,” Sorgen said.

Sorgen was formerly the Director of Finance for the City of Carbondale, and said he was among the group of planners at City Hall who originally founded the parade.

“Originally we wanted it to be floats, only not pulled by a truck,” Sorgen said. “We wanted self-contained floats without the motors showing, but it didn’t turn out that way. Now it’s all moved away from that.”

David Lopez can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 273 or at [email protected].