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Santa, singers, and millions of lights kick off 29th Rotary Lights display in La Crosse



Hundreds of people, young and old, gathered on La Crosse’s riverfront Friday night to kick off the holiday season as the Rotary Lights were switched on.

Decorated trees line the path through the opening night of the Rotary Lights display in Riverside Park on Nov. 24, 2023 (PHOTO: Brad Williams).

Before the lighting ceremony, families gathered downtown to watch the holiday parade, which included representatives from other area celebrations including Oktoberfest, Riverfest, and La Crescent’s Applefest.

The fire engine that shoots off flames is a yearly favorite for people watching La Crosse’s holiday parade on Nov. 24, 2023 through downtown (PHOTO: Brad Williams).

The Coulee Chordsmen provided entertainment at the park bandshell, before and after Santa Claus moved the giant switch to start fireworks and light up the park.

Rotary Lights begins every year on the day after Thanksgiving, and continues each night through New Year’s Eve, weather permitting.

Santa Claus prepares to throw the switch to turn on 3 million Christmas lights to begin the Rotary Light season on Nov. 24, 2023, in La Crosse’s Riverside Park (PHOTO: Brad Williams).

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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