Monday, December 11, 2023

This year’s Grand Illumination Parade celebrates the Navy and Santa

The 33rd Annual Grand Illumination Parade will celebrate the beginning of the holiday season and Naval Station Norfolk’s 100th birthday on Saturday, November 18, 2017. (Courtesy of Downtown Norfolk Council)

NORFOLK – It’s that time of year; the 33rd Annual Grand Illumination Parade is this Saturday.

Starting at 7 p.m., the From Sea to Shining Sea-themed parade will weave through downtown Norfolk, celebrating the arrival of Santa and commemorating Naval Station Norfolk’s 100th birthday.

After the downtown buildings illuminate the skyline with their holiday lights, Grand Marshall Captain Rich McDaniel, commanding officer of Norfolk Naval Station, will lead marching bands, animals and parade floats on the two-mile parade route.

“We are proud to honor the Norfolk Naval Station Centennial with a special salute during the Grand Illumination Parade,” said Mary Miller, president and CEO of Downtown Norfolk Council in a news release. “This regional tradition brings thousands of people to Downtown to enjoy all of the vibrant offerings, entertainment and the best parade in the history of our region.”

Presented by Nordstrom, the parade will start at the corner of St. Paul’s Boulevard and Main Street.

Parade-goers can reserve seats on the route for $10 or use seating areas free and open to the public.

Fans of the Waterside District that are 21 and older can purchase a VIP parade experience ticket for $40, which includes access to the Harbor Club, food and two drink tickets and reserved seats along the route. Tickets are available online.

If you’re planning to watch the parade, officials suggest arriving in downtown before 5 p.m. to avoid traffic. While you wait for Santa’s big debut, you can take in a trip to Dickens’ Christmas Towne at Nauticus or go ice skating at MacArthur on Ice and Winter Carnival.

Many Norfolk parking garages are collecting cash only upon entry, with those arriving before 5 p.m. paying $2. After 5 p.m., rates will increase to $5, though the parking rates at Hilton Norfolk The Main garage will remain unchanged. Guests can park at the Dominion Tower for $5 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

A complete list of upcoming holiday events can be found online.

Send news tips to

Related Articles