The 33rd Annual Grand Illumination Parade will be held in Downtown Norfolk on November 18 beginning at 7 pm.
The parade, presented by Nordstrom, starts at the corner of St. Paul’s Blvd. and Main Street and follows a two-mile course. The theme “From Sea to Shining Sea” will be interpreted by marching bands, animal brigades, motorized units, walking units and floats. The parade is free and open to the public.
The theme was selected to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Norfolk Naval Station, and it is an official Centennial Event. Captain Rich McDaniel, commanding officer of Norfolk Naval Station, is the distinguished Grand Marshall and will lead the parade. The finale will bring Santa to Downtown on a spectacular float.
The parade immediately follows the annual Grand Illumination that lights up the Downtown skyline at 7 pm, and the lights will continue to adorn Downtown Norfolk throughout the holidays.
“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. “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.”
Tips to Enjoy the Parade
Street Seats offer the option to reserve a viewing space on the route for the ultimate parade experience for $10; however, there are plenty of free seating options along the route. Children 4 and under, who can sit on an adult’s lap do not need a ticket. Tickets may be purchased online here or at the Downtown Norfolk Council office, 223 E. City Hall Avenue on Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm.
NEW! Waterside District VIP Experience
This year marks the first time that the Waterside District VIP Experience is available to those 21 and older. Tickets are $40 and include exclusive pre-parade access to the Harbor Club in the Waterside District and all its amenities, along with food and two drink tickets. Then enjoy reserved Street Seats in front of Waterside for the spectacular parade. The Waterside District VIP Experience tickets are sold directly through Waterside and you can access them here.
Come Early and Enjoy the Fun
Spectators are encouraged to arrive before 5 pm to avoid traffic. There’s plenty to do for the whole family including Dickens’ Christmas Towne at Nauticus, ice skating at MacArthur on Ice and Winter Carnival at MacArthur Center Green. Various entertainment options will also be available at Waterside District and on the parade route starting at 5:30 pm.
Special Event Parking Prices
Plenty of convenient, safe parking can be found throughout Downtown Norfolk and Olde Towne Portsmouth during the Grand Illumination Parade and Holidays in the City. Norfolk’s Parking Division operates and maintains more than 19,000 public parking spaces located in 14 garages and 14 lots, plus approximately 640 on-street spaces. On Saturday November 18, most Norfolk garages are collect on entry cash only $2 until 5 pm and $5 from 5 pm to closing. The garage at Hilton Norfolk The Main will not be collect on entry and regular hourly rates apply. The Waterside Garage is $2 from 5 am to 6 pm and $7 after 6 pm cash or credit. Dominion Tower is $5 collect on entry from 3 pm to 6 pm cash or credit. For all garage locations, click here.
Nordstrom, one of the nation’s leading fashion specialty retailers, offers a selection of quality apparel, shoes, accessories and cosmetics for women, men and children at MacArthur Center. Nordstrom is committed to its founding philosophy of service, selection, quality and value.
The Grand Illumination Parade kicks off the annual Holidays in the City celebrations in both Downtown Norfolk and Olde Town Portsmouth. It’s a magical time to visit with holiday music, festive lights decorating the streets and special creations at nearby restaurants. Greenery and holiday displays adorn doorways and windows of shops and hotels, and there are special events and festivities scheduled for people of all ages. For a complete list of activities and events, visit holidaysinthecity.net.