Helena Christmas parade and tree lighting

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

HELENA — Despite a rocky year of social distancing, quarantine and stay at home orders, the Christmas spirit will be alive and well in Helena on Friday, Dec. 4, as annual traditions such as the Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremonies are set to move forward.

The first event to kick off the season will be the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, which will take place on Friday night, Dec. 4.

This event is always one many residents look forward to in the city and is Helena’s “Hallmark moment,” according to Helena Beautification Board Chairman Chris VanCleave.

“It is always a lot of fun,” he said. “We all come together and drink apple cider and light the tree, and everybody sings. It really is the event that kicks off the season in Helena.”

Traditions like this are important reminders of the strength of the community, which has been especially tested during this trying year and put on display throughout the city of Helena from the pumpkin placers to the Helena Pandemic Help Facebook page, which continues to offer help to anyone needing it throughout the community.

“I think that it is very important that we continue the traditions of Christmas,” VanCleave said. “Even though we are in the midst of a global pandemic, the Christmas spirit is alive and well.”

The Christmas parade will be the following day on Saturday, Dec. 5 with a theme of “A Christmas Masquerade.”

The parade is set to begin around 12:30 p.m. and will follow a route from Highway 261 through the city before ending in Old Town Helena.

Similar to the tree lighting, the parade is an opportunity for the community to come together and stretch their artistic abilities if they are participating in the parade, or enjoy and bask in the holiday spirit as they watch the floats move through town.

More information about Christmas festivities during the upcoming holiday season can be found by visiting CityofHelena.org.