LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After the coronavirus pandemic dampened celebrations last year, the city of Louisville is planning a series of holiday events for 2021 to bring some holiday spirit to one and all!
Light Up Louisville
The city’s largest and most beloved holiday event is returning Friday, Nov. 26, outside Metro Hall.
This year, the event is a one-way loop as a COVID-19 precaution, and some activities, like photos with Santa and train rides, have also been canceled. Families can still come to visit Santa's Workshop, pick up holiday crafts and cookies to decorate at home, write letters to Santa, and more.
A holiday market will be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 6th and Jefferson St. Live entertainment on the west lawn of Metro Hall will also begin at 4 p.m. Some of Louisville's most talented groups will be performing, like DJ Jay Campbell, Louisville Classic Melodies, Motown Christmas, and more.
The Lots of Lights Parade starts at 6:45 p.m. at Fourth and Liberty St., led by Frosty the Snowman. From Fourth Street, the parade turns down Jefferson Street and will end at Seventh and Jefferson. Anyone interested in participating in the parade can sign up here.
Around 8 p.m., Santa Claus will make his way to the stage to help "Light Up Louisville" by turning on tens of thousands of lights, including the city's 45-foot Christmas tree in Jefferson Square Park. Finally, a fireworks show will round out the festivities.
Louisville Mega Cavern’s Lights Under Louisville is returning for 2021 and event organizers say the holiday event will be bigger than ever this year.
During a 20-minute, one-mile ride through cavern passageways, guests will get to enjoy more than 40 themed displays, ten mapping projections, approximately 900 lit characters, exciting new themes, and over 4 million points of light, immersing them in a megadose of holiday cheer.
Lights Under Louisville runs through Saturday, January 2. Guests will need to pre-order tickets that will be scanned through their car window upon entrance to create a contactless experience. Tickets can be ordered online.
Lights on Main
I Would Rather Be Reading is hosting their second annual "Lights on Main" holiday showcase of 60 Christmas trees which have been sponsored and decorated by local groups.
Family fun opportunities will be available on the Saturdays of Nov. 27, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11, including food trucks, hot cocoa bar, letters to the North Pole, and a special appearance and photo opportunity with Santa.
Toys for Tots
The holidays are a perfect time to spread love and compassion. From 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3, a special drive-thru lane in front of Metro Hall will be open for easy donation drop-offs. There will also be drop-off sites at Paristown, Mission BBQ and all Louisville Fire Department stations.
A new drive-thru event in Shawnee Park, 'Winter Wonderland' will feature musical performances, festive tunes and holiday displays made of more than 200,000 twinkling lights.
The free event will take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the weekend of Dec. 17-19.
One West and community partners will transform Shawnee Park into a magical festival, and will also provide free transportation for youth and families in need.
Winter Woods Spectacular
The Winter Woods Spectacular is returning for its third year in Iroquois Park from Nov. 26 - Dec 26. It's a half-mile drive of lighting and artistry that explores and celebrates the holiday season. Proceeds will help benefit the Parks Alliance of Louisville.
Fête de Noël
Also returning for its third year, Fête de Noël opens on Nov 19th at 4 p.m. The popular outdoor ice-skating rink in Christy's Garden will be back, filled with holiday music, movies and festive decor. New this year, Santa's Workshop will be open where kids can visit Santa and parents can take their own photos!
Plus, the Brent Street Holiday Market has expanded to 20 chalets filled with holiday gift items and artwork from local vendors. The market officially opens on Friday, Nov. 26 at 5 p.m., with specials and holiday extras on Small Business Saturday on Nov 27.
Also new at Fête de Noël this year is the Scrooge & Marley's Escape Room, designed and operated by the Louisville Halloween team.
Christmas Tree Lane
Back for its 18th year, Christmas Tree Lane is a popular source for high-quality and reasonably priced trees and greenery.
Selections of various trees and wood carvings of reindeer and snowmen will be available at the Waterfront Park starting Nov. 19 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will continue daily until sold-out.
Due to tight demand, organizers are encouraging those interested in picking up their trees early.
Light Up Jeff
Jeffersonville, Indiana is celebrating the Holiday season this year with the return of its light up festivities.
"Light Up Jeff" kicks off at 4 p.m. on Nov. 27 with a North Pole Party at Warder Park.
At 6 p.m., the annual Holiday Light Up Parade starts with more than 60 local businesses participating.
The parade will make its way up Spring Street, from Riverside Drive to 7th Street, and afterwards, Mayor Mike Moore will flip the switch for the reveal of Warder Park's light display.
Click here to find other holiday-related events in Southern Indiana
Shelby County Christmas Parade took place on Saturday in downtown Shelbyville.
PHOTOS: Moments from Shelby County's Christmas Parade
Click on Kentucky Tourism to see more parades and holiday-themed events across the state.