Sioux Falls officials emphasizing safety ahead of 29th Annual Parade of Lights

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 6:16 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Parade of Lights attracts thousands of spectators to downtown Sioux Falls each year and might be bigger than ever after being cancelled in 2020.

“I can’t wait to have people back on Phillps Avenue again, it’s going to be a great year for the Parade of Lights,” DTSF Community Outreach Coordinator Sadie Swier said.

And while she is excited about the parade, Swier says what took place Sunday in Wisconsin is a grim reminder of the need to be prepared for each and every event.

“What happened in Waukesha is a sad and tragic event and the worst-case scenario for any public community event that’s happening, but, as we’re planning for the Parade of Lights, happening this week, it’s part of our conversations,” Swier said.

Luetenient Andrew Siebenborn, with the Sioux Falls Police Department, spoke on the topic at Monday’s police briefing.

“We do talk about vehicles being used as weapons, whether it’s at a parade or another type of event, or it’s in general. So, that’s a contingency that we’re aware of,” Lt. Siebenborn said.

Swier says DTSF works closely with local law enforcement when planning the parade.

“Ensuring the safety and well-being of any attendee at all of Downtown Sioux Falls events is one of our top priorities,” Swier said.

Lt. Siebenborn added, “Event planning starts many weeks, if not months, in advance because it’s so important, it’s so detailed.”

The parade’s route is carefully laid out, with barricades and officers placed throughout.

“A lot of the folks who work our events are the same folks, over and over, so they’re very experienced at working these events, which I think is truly a benefit,” said Lt. Siebenborn.

Both Swier and the Sioux Falls Police Department are encouraging people to come out Friday night and enjoy the festivities, and not to be deterred by what happened in Wisconsin.

“We just hope that the events elsewhere don’t dissuade people from coming down, and know that we’re fully committed to making sure it goes off safely,” said Lt. Siebenborn.

The Parade of Lights will begin at 7:30 Friday night. Its official theme, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

For information about the parade route and other activities going on that night, click here.

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