A popular holiday tradition will light up downtown Hays on Saturday evening. The Frostfest Illuminated Parade will begin just after sunset, or around 6 p.m., on Main Street.
More than 50 lighted floats will compete in a judged contest centering around the theme “St. Nick’s on The Bricks.”
“It’s absolutely a looked-forward to tradition in downtown. And Hays is such a parade community, and we have a lot of people come out for all the parades,” said Sara Bloom, executive director of the Downtown Hays Development Corp. “FrostFest is special because it’s the only one that happens at night, and every single float is required to be lit.”
The parade has been an annual tradition since 2001, and this year will see the highest number of float entries. Many new businesses and organizations will participate for the first time, Bloom said.
Winners will be selected from five categories: business, animal, religious, school or student organization and “other.” Those categories will be decided by a panel of judges, while the public is invited to vote via text message for a winner of the “people’s choice” award.
The winner of the people’s choice award will get a $200 prize, with the other five winners receiving $100.
“The FrostFest parade is unique. You’re going to see a lot of floats and a lot of hard work from the people who enter,” Bloom said. “I feel like people really put a lot of effort into their entries for FrostFest, and it’s really fun to see how they get creative with the theme — as well as how they get creative with lighting their entries.”
Several organizations also are expected to serve hot chocolate and treats during Saturday’s parade.
The parade will wrap up a season of special events downtown that began with holiday open houses in November. Carriage rides will be available downtown for the final time Dec. 21.
Also on Saturday, winners will be drawn for a raffle that has been ongoing in downtown businesses since early November. The grand prize will be $2,500 in downtown dollars, with several other items awarded. The drawing will be at 5 p.m. at Union Pacific Park, and participants must be present to win.