Light Up Viera Holiday Parade celebrates its fifth year
Casandra M. Marfitt, left, and Laurie Widzgowski are in the Christmas spirit as they get ready for the fifth annual Light Up Viera Holiday Parade. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25 with a fireworks display at Viera High School.
VIERA VOICE Jill Blue Gaines
Brevard County can thank the grand city of Savannah for an event that has quickly become a holiday tradition, the Light Up Viera Holiday Parade, which begins with fireworks at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25 at Viera High School.
“I was in Savannah on my birthday in November and we were getting dressed for dinner when I heard a very loud commotion on River Street,” said Lauri Duda, the vice president of marketing for the Viera Company who is on the board of the Viera Community Institute, which orchestrates the annual holiday parade for the Viera Company.
Duda checked out what was going on in Savannah and discovered the city was hosting a holiday parade.
“That’s when I said we should have something similar in Viera,” she said.
Viera once had Santa visiting the community on a firetruck, but the area so quickly blossomed that St. Nick had trouble keeping up. A larger event was definitely warranted, and thus began the Light Up Viera Holiday Parade, now in its fifth year.
“We expect anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000 to attend,” said Tonya Evans, marketing and event specialist for the Viera Company.
“Last year, we estimated 18,000 filled the streets for the parade and festivities.”
The parade has gone first-class, with floats custom made in Tampa for the occasion. Leading the float sponsor list is Health First. Other float sponsors include Viera Builders, Viera Charter School, Viera Realty, Fairway Management, Tropic-Care of Florida, Steve Vitani Remax Elite, Brewer Paving, United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), The Holz Foundation, The Avenue Viera and Viera Voice, Duda Family Council, the Viera Company and Homemade Happiness Bake Shoppe.
The event officially gets started when the oak tree in the Viera roundabout is lighted for the season that Saturday. The Viera Community Institute has engaged the Satellite High, Viera High and Rockledge High bands to play in the parade. Each band receives $1,500 to participate.
Of course, Santa will be there, too. The parade ends with a “Home for the Holidays” celebration with Santa and friends at Viera High School.
Evans offers the following tip to grab the most enjoyment from the parade.
“Come early to relax with friends and family and enjoy the entertainment and food vendors that we will spread along the entire parade route this year,” she said.
“Think of it as a “Christmas Street Party!”
For more information, call 321-255-4500, ext. 4880, or go to vieracommunityinstitute.com/light-up-viera.
Photo gallery from 2016 Light Up Viera parade: http://www.vieravoice.com/Galleries/index.php/gallery/887/