Thanksgiving is two weeks away, but the city of Leavenworth soon will host its annual downtown Christmas celebration.

The Leavenworth Lighted Parade, Mayor’s Tree Lighting and Holiday Bazaar are slated for Nov. 16 in downtown Leavenworth as the unofficial kickoff to the Christmas season.

The yuletide event, hosted by the Leavenworth Parks and Recreation Department, is an annual tradition in the First City of Kansas.

“The Parks and Recreation staff is often busy during the month of December preparing the Riverfront Community Center for parties and events,” said Melissa Bower, public information officer for the city of Leavenworth. “Because of this, November is an easier time for staff to plan the parade and tree lighting. The weather is also more accommodating this time of year when we include children’s choirs outside.

“Businesses have told us they appreciate starting the holiday shopping season early, with our event taking place two weeks after Leavenworth Main Street’s Holiday Open House Nov. 3.”

The Holiday Bazaar is a craft fair that will be held at Haymarket Square on Nov. 16 to kick off the evening festivities. The craft fair will be open from 4-8 p.m.

Anyone interested in being a vendor at the craft fair should email Alisa Murphy at

A wide assortment of food and handcrafted items will be available to purchase at the event.

The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. The route goes from Fifth and Shawnee streets and concludes at Haymarket Square.

This year’s parade theme is “Winter Wonderland.” People who will have a float in the parade are encouraged to decorate the float with lights.

There is no entry fee to have a float in the parade. Businesses and/or organizations are welcome to advertise on their floats.

Entry forms to enter the parade are available at

The Mayor’s Tree Lighting will take place after the parade at Haymarket Square.

Several children’s musical groups will perform at the event.

The Leavenworth Parks and Recreation Department will hold a drawing contest for children in first grade to determine who gets to light the tree with the mayor.

The drawings should be submitted to their teacher. The drawings will be judged and displayed at the Riverfront Community Center.

Drawings must be submitted to the Riverfront Community Center by 5 p.m. Thursday.