For the 48th year, Indianapolis’ Monument Circle will celebrate the Circle of Lights, presented by the Contractors of Quality Connection and Electrical Workers of IBEW 481. This annual Indianapolis tradition will take place on Friday, November 26, 2010, when Monument Circle lights up downtown Indianapolis for the first time this season. Fifty-two garland strands and 4784 colored lights will be strung from the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument. In addition 26 giant toy soldiers, 26 candy canes and 90,000 lights on the Circle’s trees will complete Monument Circle’s holiday decorations.
This Indianapolis event is free and usually attracts more than 100,000 residents and visitors, so arrive early to find parking and space. Live entertainment begins at 6pm, including soloists, show choirs, dancing troupes and more from Indiana and around the country. Those not wanting to risk the cold and the crowds can tune in on their televisions from 7-8pm. The monument itself will be lit around 7:45pm. The child who wins a statewide coloring contest gets to flip the switch with Santa and our Indianapolis mayor.
If you wish to attend Indianapolis Circle of Lights Festival, I recommend arriving very early downtown. Parking on the street in Indianapolis is free on the weekends, but not until 6pm on Fridays. Even paid parking will be a rare commodity once it gets closer to time to light up the monument. Read this article to learn more about where to park in downtown Indianapolis. I suggest getting to downtown no later than 2 or 3pm. Before the show, have an early dinner at one of the restaurants in the area. If you’re brave, get some Christmas shopping done in Circle Center Mall; but, like all shopping centers, the mall will be packed the day after Thanksgiving. You can also take a carriage ride through downtown Indianapolis to see the holiday sights before the Festival begins. Regardless, if you want to experience the Circle of Lights up close, find your place in Monument Circle between 4pm and 5pm. The Circle itself will be very crowded, however. If you want to see the “tree” light up the night but wish to avoid the crowds, try hanging out at the City Market, east of the Circle on Market Street just a few blocks, for a clear view of the monument.
Statewide auditions for performances were held September 30 and October 9. The coloring contest is scheduled to run from November 1 – 17. For more information, contact Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. (IDI) at 317-237-2222, or visit their website.