Christmas Parade float


The 43rd Annual Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade will be Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. This year's theme is "A Storybook Christmas."

The Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the corner of State St. and College Ave. It will head east on College Ave. to Drew St.

Christmas Parade float

The Appleton Downtown Christmas Parade is the largest nighttime parade in the Midwest. Last year's parade drew approximately 80,000 spectators to Downtown Appleton.

Parade Route

The parade begins at State Street and College Avenue in downtown Appleton and travels east on College Avenue to Drew Street. See map.

Parade Grand Marshal

Each year, the Appleton Parade Committee selects a Parade Grand Marshal. The Grand Marshal is honored for his/her many activities in making the Fox Cities a better and richer place to reside. This year's Parade Marshal is Tom Mahoney, well-known weatherman for decades in the Fox River Valley.

After over 41 years as a broadcast meteorologist, Tom Mahoney retired from television in June, 2013.  He started at WFRV 41 years ago on the weekends and then moved to Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, and Virginia Beach before returning to WFRV and the Fox River Valley 31 years ago.  In addition he could be heard on the Woodward station group including WAPL and WHBY.  He served as an adjunct instructor of meteorology at UW-Green Bay for ten years.  Although he is retired from television, he serves the Diocese of Green Bay as a permanent Deacon and is employed part time by two churches.  He and his wife, Sue have six children and four grandchildren.

Marshal Mahoney says: "I am deeply honored to be asked to be the Grand Marshal of the Appleton Christmas Parade. WFRV has been carrying the parade on Local 5 News for decades. Although I was not an announcer of the parade, I did the weather live from College Avenue at 5 & 6 pm each year. By being Grand Marshal, I will continue to be part of the greatest nighttime Christmas Parade in the Midwest for yet another year."


Television Schedule

Each year, over 80,000 spectators attend the Annual Downtown Christmas Parade. Again this year, the parade will be broadcast live by WFRV-TV Local 5 onTuesday November 26 starting at 6:30 pm. It will be replayed on Saturday November 30 at 11:00am.
WFRV-TV Local 5


The Santa Scamper Run

The Santa Scamper run
Race Start: 6:03 p.m. at corner of State Street & College Avenue
The 1-mile run starts about 1/2 hour prior to the 43rd Annual Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade and proceeds down College to Drew St., finishing at Jones Park. No roller blades. No pets please.
For a Santa Scamper application, download the registration form here, or contact the Wells Fargo Bank at 118 S. State St. in Appleton (749-2559). Or the Wells Fargo bank at either 3321 N. Ballard Rd., Appleton, or 931 S. Green Bay Rd., Neenah. Or a Burger King or Dairy Queen in the Fox Cities. 

Before the Parade

Thrivent will be collecting donations of canned goods for their "Thrivent Cans Hunger" food drive. For information go here.



After the Parade

company AppletonAPPLETON CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING AFTER PARADE. To celebrate the Christmas season, Appvion will sponsor the Annual City of Appleton Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in City Park at approximately 7:45 p.m. immediately following the Christmas Parade. The event will include members of the Appleton East choirs singing Christmas carols, live animals, and Santa & Mrs. Claus handing out candy canes to the children. Additional music will be provided by Legend George. The public is invited to attend. The Appvion website is here.


Parade Participation

Limit on participants. Due to the unpredictable weather this time of year, we must limit the parade to 80 units. The Appleton Downtown Christmas Parade has become so popular that we cannot always accommodate everyone who wishes to enter. Regardless, we encourage all entries and attempt to include as many as possible. Units are strongly encouraged (but not required) to use the theme "A Storybook Christmas." Several guidelines have been set to help the selection committee determine final entries. They are as follows:

1.  Applicants will be accepted in the following commercial
and non-commercial categories:

    a)   Floats
    b)   Bands
    c)   Animals (including carriages, horse-drawn vehicles
          and animal walking units)
    d)   Vehicles (single units, including cars, trucks, buses, etc.)
    e)   Walking Units
2.  All entries must be of a non-commercial Christmas theme and be decorated accordingly. This parade is designed to entertain families, especially children. It is not a commercial endeavor. The City of Appleton Parade Committee will eliminate any entry not in compliance. Therefore, floats are encouraged to display their name or sponsor on the float in a non-commercial manner.
3.  No entry can display Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus. The City of Appleton Parade Committee will provide the Santa and Mrs. Claus. (More than one Santa confuses the children.)

Parade Policies

The parade committee does not allow anything to be thrown or handed to spectators on the sidelines. We must take this stance for safety purposes and any group in violation may be removed from the parade list in the following years. This rule will be strictly enforced. For the parade application and a letter with other rules, download this zip-compressed file in Word format.

Appleton Common Council Parade Policy: No person or object may be used to reserve a location along the College Avenue parade route at any time prior to noon on the day of the Christmas Parade. Persons may place items along the route after noon of the day of the parade only if they remain with those items.


US Army band

As is tradition, three traveling trophies will be awarded to the best entries in the following categories:

  1. The Appleton Downtown
    Inc. Trophy

    Best Commercial Entry
  2. The Christmas Parade Trophy
    Best Non-Commercial Entry
  3. The Bernie Pearlman
    Memorial Trophy

    Best Entry "In the Eyes of a Child"


Please contact Greg Otis or Djuanna Hugdahl at the ADI Office at (920) 954-9112 if you have other questions about the Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade. Information is also available at and at Channel 5



Photo credits...

Photos courtesy of Jeff Lindsey and Appleton Downtown Inc.

© 2013 Appleton Downtown Christmas Parade Committee