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The 52nd Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade Returns November 21

The Appleton Parade Committee is proud to present the 52nd Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade on Tuesday, November 21, 2023. “The sparkling lights, festive music, magnificent floats, and holiday spirit transform College Avenue into a winter wonderland,” said Corey Otis, Appleton Parade Committee Chairperson. “The Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade brings heartwarming joy to our community. It’s a beautiful night.”

The Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade is the largest nighttime parade in the Midwest. The parade will begin at 7:00 p.m. and move east on College Avenue from State Street to Drew Street. The Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade annually draws 80,000 spectators to Downtown Appleton. Additionally, a television audience of over 100,000 view the parade live and during rebroadcasts (1:00 p.m. on Nov. 23, Thanksgiving Day; 4:00 p.m. on Dec. 25) on CBS 5, WFRV-TV. The parade can also be streamed live at WeAreGreenBay.com.

The theme of this year’s parade is “The Music and Magic of Christmas.” While the Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade signals the beginning of the holiday season, it’s also an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate. “Music possesses a magical ability to harmonize hearts and unite souls,” said Corey Otis, Appleton Parade Committee Chairperson, “and never more enchantingly than during the holiday season.”

Fittingly, the Heid family will serve as the 2023 Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade Marshal. “Heid Music has built and cultivated a legacy of music in the Fox Valley,” said Otis. “This year’s parade honors the Heid family’s countless contributions to music education, performance, and appreciation.” In 1948, musician Peter “Duke” Heid, also known as Papa, opened Heid Music on College Avenue in Appleton. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2023, Heid Music is a third-generation family-owned business with locations in Appleton, Green Bay, Stevens Point, Oshkosh, and Madison. Heid Music actively supports music education programs and events in schools and communities through donations, music workshops, and sponsorships. Heid Music was recently named one of the top 50 music retailers in the U.S. by Music Trades Magazine, top 100 music dealers by NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants), and Best Musical Instrument Stores in the Best of Madison readers’ poll. (For more information about the Heid Family’s legacy of music, please visit https://www.heidmusic.com/aboutheidmusic/.)

Other notable entries in the 52nd Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade include:

  • Two dozen marching bands, including the City of Appleton Band, local high schools, and Titan Thunder Marching Band from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
  • New entries, including Memorial Florists, Appleton Axe Throwing/SOAR Fox Cities, and Bernatello’s Foods.
  • Several fan favorites, including MCC, Inc., Alliance Industries, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley, Door County Maritime Museum, Winnegamie Dog Club, Fox Valley Ballooning, and more!
  • And two very special guests from the North Pole

Spectators are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to College Avenue; after the Santa Scamper, Lawrence University will collect cans, pasta, peanut butter and more for St. Joe’s Food Pantry before the parade officially begins. Note, the City of Appleton allows spectators to place chairs and blankets along the parade route any time after noon on Tuesday, November 21, but only if they remain with their possessions.

Follow the official Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade on Facebook for news and updates on this year’s event. The event is organized by the Appleton Parade Committee, a group of dedicated community volunteers.