Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade Snow Queen Lauren Price

Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade Snow Queen Lauren Price, 17, of Mountain View High School, waves to the crowd during the 2017 iteration of the event.

A long-standing downtown tradition, the Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade is scheduled to return 6 p.m. Nov. 28 after a two-year hiatus.

Organized by a small group of volunteers, the 44th event celebrating the holiday season will feature 55 entries – a promenade of 21 floats, eight marching bands and assorted costumed characters moving down State Street, up Main Street and on to First Street and part of Whitney Street, all in under an hour.

Overall, approximately 1,200 people are participating in the 2021 parade, according to members of the Festival of Lights Parade Association.

Some new elements are incorporated in this year’s parade.

“We have a lot of firsts this year,” said longtime parade volunteer Nancy Schneider. “Our new Santa float will have its first time – the reindeer are very excited, as they have new harnesses and lights to show off – as well as Santa’s toy bag, filled with amazing gifts. Watch out for the snow.”

Another new float, “The Shredders,” is outfitted with cutting-edge technology controlling movements of the float’s characters, lights and music. Schneider said two of the parade association’s board members oversaw construction of the float, completed with local high schoolers.

“It is the first of its kind, and thanks to a generous donation by Kathy Bridgman, this technology will be used on the rest of our floats in the next few years,” Schneider said.

The parade will be televised live on Comcast Channel 15 for the first time.

“If you’d rather stay home with hot chocolate, this is a way to still see it,” Schneider said.

The Notre Dame High School Dance Team joins the 2021 lineup dressed as elves. A group of Gardner Bullis School students calling themselves the “Martian Comicals” built a Mars Rover replica called “The Mars Rover Hilarious,” with an astronaut landing on another planet for the holidays, representing the parade’s perennial theme, “A Child’s Holiday Fantasy.”

The parade, a holiday tradition since 1977, was rained out in 2019 and canceled in 2020 due to COVID-related restrictions.

Association members urge attendees to adhere to guidelines that appear on page 27 of this week’s Town Crier and on the association’s website at losaltosparade.org/viewing-guidelines.

For more information, visit losaltosparade.org.