An East Peorian tradition is back for it’s 36th year, the Festival of Lights kicks off the Christmas season for community members

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EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — 36 years of lights, the tradition continued Saturday night in East Peoria.

The Festival of Lights parade had a huge crowd waiting to see the 30 floats pass by, lighting up the streets with their bright LED lights.

Carrie Foster, owner of Twistee Treat in East Peoria, says she was worried the event would be cancelled because of COVID-19.

“It’s just been a huge community event for as far back as I can remember. It’s really neat that East Peoria can do this and get the community out,” said Foster.

While her shop is technically closed for the season, she opens every year for the parade to offer food to those who attend.

“Since I’ve owned it for the last three years, we’ve just opened and just done a super simple menu, just popcorn, and hot dogs and hot chocolate and coffee. Just because it’s right here and there’s so much foot traffic,” said Foster.

Trinity McGuire is a regular attendee of the Festival of Lights parade, she says the event is especially good for kids who might not have been able to get out of the house.

“It’s especially important to just get out, and it’s a great way to social distance while having fun. And it’s a great experience for kids just to have even like a winter thing, and to get outside and enjoy outside,” said McGuire.

If you missed the Festival of Lights, you can still see majority of the floats from the parade on display at Folepi’s Winter Wonderland in East Peoria from Thanksgiving night until January 3rd.

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