Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting

Saturday, December 1, 2018 (Rain date is 12/2/18)

The theme of the 2018 holiday parade is Spirit of Portsmouth. Festivities will begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 1st (rain date December 2nd), beginning with music in Market Square and then Mayor Blalock lighting the tree at 5:30 p.m. The parade follows at 6:00 p.m. stepping off from Islington/Summer Street. 

All participants and spectators are encouraged to participate in the City’s annual food drive during the parade. Participants can bring food to the start of the parade for pick up by the student volunteers.  Parade spectators can drop food at the parade platform in Market Square or hand deliver their donation to the volunteers walking through the parade with shopping carts. Thank you to the Portsmouth High School students for volunteering their time to this worthy cause each year.

Portsmouth's free parking shuttle will be operating during these festivities. This shuttle allows for easy parking at the Connect Community Church's parking lot off Market Street, and quick transportation to the downtown at the Hanover Street bus stop - all free of charge.

    Key Deadlines


    Below please note key deadlines for participating in the parade, as well as the document that includes full rules, regulations and the application form:

    • Monday, November 5: Application deadline for floats, flatbed trailers and towed trailers
    • Monday, November 5 at 6:30 p.m.: Safety Meeting for float entries and any entry carrying someone outside a vehicle cab. Portsmouth Police Station – 1 Junkins Avenue (see special rules for floats/towed trailers. Please bring 3 things to the meeting: Pics or schematics of float (if pulling a trailer-- photos must show that wheels are not exposed); proof of registration & insurance for trailer; and photocopy of the drivers license of the driver of the float unit. All drivers will be re-checked on parade night.
    • Monday, November 19 at 12:00 p.m.:  Deadline for other entries. (A $25 late fee must accompany ALL applications following the deadline.)

    Parade Rules, Regulations & Application

    Parade Route

    Holiday Parade Route