Illuminated Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting

Illuminated Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting

Holiday parade 2022 save the date


Parade Rules, Regulations & Application

Parking & Transportation


For Parking Information, Location, & Rates, please click here to be redirected to ParkPortsmouth.

On the night of the parade, there are many street closures and restrictions. On street parking is not recommended. Click here for details and information on the Holiday Parade Vintage Parking Shuttle.

Road Closures & Detours


Road closures surrounding Market Square begin at 4 pm. 

Click here for details from the Portsmouth Police Department about street closures and detours as the parade date nears.

Parade Route

Holiday Parade Route
Viewing of the parade for spectators starts at Summer/Islington Street.


Grand Marshal


City of Portsmouth Mayor Names Deb Anthony as Grand Marshal of 2022 Illuminated Holiday Parade


Portsmouth, New Hampshire The City’s 2022 Annual Illuminated Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting takes place on Saturday, December 3 at 6 pm. Each year the City selects a Grand Marshal who “best exemplifies the spirit of generosity and commitment to the community.” This year, Mayor Deaglan McEachern is pleased to announce that Deb Anthony, who recently retired after 8 years as executive director of Gather, is the 2022 Grand Marshal.


In making the announcement, Mayor McEachern said, “Deb Anthony is the embodiment of the spirit of generosity for which Portsmouth is known, having guided Gather and the community through some of its most challenging demands since its founding two hundred years ago. The pandemic added enormously to the food insecurities of Seacoast families – increasing the number served to more than 2,000 families per month -- but also inspired all those who donated, volunteered and advocated for Gather and the needs it serves. Deb is one of those champions of this City of the Open Door who makes sure we hold the door open, whenever and wherever we can.”


Portsmouth’s Illuminated Holiday Parade takes place on the first Saturday evening in December following the annual Tree Lighting ceremony which begins at 5 pm with music from the Portsmouth Middle & High School Holiday Ensemble. At 5:30 pm, the Mayor officially marks the beginning of Portsmouth’s holiday season by flipping the larger-than-life switch in the middle of Market Square to light up the downtown holiday tree.


Ms. Anthony will be escorted through the parade in a luxury SUV thanks to the generosity of Great Bay Limo and arrive in Market Square where she will watch floats, marching bands, fire trucks, thriller dancers and of course, Santa Claus riding atop Portsmouth Fire Department’s ladder truck to kick off the holiday season in Portsmouth.


The parade route begins at Summer Street/Islington Street at 6 pm and proceeds downtown via Congress Street. The parade continues through Market Square and onto Pleasant Street before concluding at Junkins Avenue.


As many as 10,000 spectators are expected to line the one-mile route. The rain date for the parade is Sunday, December 4. For more information about the parade route and parking, go to:


For more parade information, please contact parade coordinator, Brinn Sullivan at (603) 767-2697 ï

The Tree


The 35-foot blue spruce was donated by the Fratamico family in loving memory of Rose Zubkus and was placed and decorated by the city's Department of Public Works.

Thanks to Seacoastonline for covering the installation:

The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony begins at 5:00pm with music from the Portsmouth Holiday Ensemble. At 5:25pm the Portsmouth Mayor begins remarks, and at 5:29.50pm the Tree Lighting Countdown begins.