Parading, North Dakota Style

Parade of Lights Watford City“If you’re in town for Thanksgiving, go down to Main Street on Friday, lots of fun stuff will be going on”, Debbie over at Larsen’s Drug told me when I was sitting with the ladies last week. We were staying in town, not much to do, so I filed that one away. I also heard or saw something somewhere else about some kind of parade at, like 6ish, or something on that same day.So, without much thought or planning around 6ish on Friday, needing to breathe some fresh air after laying around all day, Danny and I bundled up our kid and jumped in the car to drive to Main Street to see if something was actually going on.

Parade of Lights Watford City

We parked, put Benj in the stroller, and started meandering. I asked the first person we passed if something was going on and they said, “Yeah, a parade, some trucks with lights will head down the street at 6:30”. Some trucks with lights? That didn’t seem to constitute a parade to me but we decided we could manage the cold for another 15 mins to see what this was about.

As we walked things seemed to get busier, more people, more noise, then tables with food vendors started popping up.

These two cute girls came around offering free hot chocolate.


We kept walking.

Ran into these excited kids from the 4-H selling food

4-H kids selling food in Watford City, ND

And before we knew it, we were in a full blown, Watford City par-tay. No one seemed to notice that the temperature was hovering around 0. I swear, every person within city limits was there, kids in mittens and hats and snow boots running around. People laughing, talking, walking around visiting with neighbors. It felt like we had just fallen upon some secret awesome. Who in their right mind has a party, in November, at night, outside, in NORTH DAKOTA?? Crazy people right? Danny and I kept looking at each other and laughing.

We spotted some people crowding and made our way over to take a look.

Yep, a live nativity. With live animals. And adorable children.

Do you see these kids? Full on snow clothes underneath their costumes. I took about a thousand pictures of these kids from the Catholic church here in town. I’ve never seen anything so charming, so sweet.

Please tell me you noticed those angels.

And then, the parade began. It has a name, The Parade of Lights. To say that we were surprised would be a complete understatement.

Sesame Street Watford City, ND

Yes that is the Sesame Street Crew waving to my child. Benj was in shock and awe.

There was candy throwing and Christmas songs and Buddy the Elf….

The living room from A Christmas Story drove on by

We thought we had experienced all the entertainment that one little city could produce on a frigid night, but then, came the fire trucks. And then, came Santa.

It’s been 2 days and when you ask my 2 year old where Santa lives he says, weee oooo weeee ooooo ho ho ho. He totally got it.

Santa even went up on the ladder and did a fly over for his fans.


It was sweet.

Then there was this drunk guy trying to get everyone to sing carols

Just kidding, not drunk and not crazy. This is our friend Clay, definitely filled with the Watford City Christmas spirit.

Long post, I know, but I just cannot concisely describe what The Parade of Lights experience was for me. It was such a surprise showing of fun, of tradition. No over-advertising going on here. Maybe that is what I mean, so down played. I think that is what I’m feeling about Watford City tonight, it is really down played, but there is so much charm here.

I am both jubilant and joyful (just using some of my Christmas adjectives) to be living around crazy people who huddle around in the cold in the name of the season. I’ve been to the Macy’s Day Parade, and I think this little town may have those New Yorkers beat in the Christmas cheer department, I am glad I didn’t miss it.

And this, this is the face of a boy who doesn’t quite
know how to party North Dakota style, yet!


10 thoughts on “Parading, North Dakota Style

  1. What a heart warming report, thanks for sharing the Christmas spirit! Yep, it can be wherever you want it to be regardless of place, temperature or whatever. Looks like Watford City residents have that down pat!


  2. I have lived in Watford City for 5 months….and happily shared my Friday evening playing the Grinch for the Parade of Lights. Watford is a lovely city with wonderful thoughtful people full of the Christmas spirit. Thank you so much for sharing.


  3. Pingback: You Live Where? Man Camp Madness | Oil Goes Boom

  4. Because of this wonderful review, I will be bundling up all four of my children and braving the cold to check out the Parade of Lights tonight! Thanks! =)


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