City of Lincoln
2004 Media Releases
Mayor Coleen J. Seng today announced plans for the 20th annual celebration of the Star City Holiday Festival, produced by Updowntowners, Inc. and presented by First National Bank. The parade is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, December 4, in downtown Lincoln. The theme for this year's event is AOur Lasting Treasure," and spectators will find numerous surprises in the parade line-up, including new floats and balloons and the unveiling of the new-look parade mascot, Major Drummond.
"This parade could not have reached this 20-year milestone without the tremendous support of community organizations, businesses and volunteers," Mayor Seng said. "The parade truly is a 'lasting treasure,' and Lincoln residents can take great pride in its success. It has grown to be the largest parade of its kind in a five-state region, and we welcome visitors to the Capital City for this great holiday tradition." Mayor Seng again will ride in a horse-drawn carriage with her three grandchildren from Colorado.
Deb Johnson, Executive Director of Updowntowners, Inc., said the parade attracts 85,000 people to downtown Lincoln. "While the parade is 20 years old, spectators will be pleased to find many new entries among our lasting treasures," Johnson said. "This year, the children will be thrilled to see Arthur, Noah's Ark, Jay Jay the Jet Plane and our brand new Title Star Float." Children are encouraged to bring their letters to Santa to the parade. U.S. Postal workers walking in front of Santa's float at the end of the parade will pick up the children's letters. Santa takes the time to respond to each letter from the Star City Holiday Festival spectators.
U.S. Cellular has partnered with Updowntowners to develop and build an exciting and vibrant new opening float that celebrates the 20-year birthdays of Updowntowners, the Star City Holiday Festival and U.S. Cellular.
"We are proud to have the opportunity to support this landmark event," said Ryan Johnson, U.S. Cellular's Lincoln Store Manager. "And our thanks to the City of Lincoln for welcoming U.S. Cellular to the community."
Updowntowners volunteers have worked continually over the past 13 months to bring numerous new entries and new excitement to this year's event. First National Bank again has played a big role by providing financial support.
"We're proud to be the presenting sponsor once again for this year's Star City Holiday Parade," said Richard L. Herink, President of First National Bank. "This year will be especially exciting since it is the 20th year the parade will be bringing smiles and laughter to the thousands of people who come to watch."
The Mayor also thanked Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center for sponsoring the Polar Bear Express float. Other major sponsors include: U.S. Cellular, Union Bank & Trust, Alltel, Duncan Aviation and Pfizer. The parade also features unique vehicles, animal and equestrian units, walking units, costumed characters and executive clowns. Nineteen bands will march through downtown, including the UNL Cornhusker Marching Band; the 43rd Army Band; bands from all six Lincoln public high schools, Pius X and Parkview Christian; as well as bands from nine other Nebraska communities.
A panel of band professionals will judge the bands in competition. All other judging will be done by a panel of children ages 8 through 14.
StarTran will again offer free rides on all its routes all day December 4. Those wanting information on StarTran routes and schedules can call 476-1234 or check the City Web site at lincoln.ne.gov.
Keep Lincoln & Lancaster County Beautiful is promoting the parade as a litter-free event. Volunteers will be stationed along the parade route to help collect trash and educate the public on the proper disposal of trash. To volunteer, call 441-8035 by Wednesday, November 24.
The parade again will be televised live statewide by KOLN-KGIN-TV.
While the parade is free to the public, production costs are significant. Parade organizers will have volunteers collecting donations during the parade and will have a donation bucket at the information booth.
A number of events are planned as part of the Star City Holiday Festival, beginning with the Holiday Lighting Ceremony from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, November 28, at Wells Fargo Plaza, 13th and AO@ streets. The parade Web site at www.starcityholidayfestival.org includes information on all the events, plus a parade route map and parking map.