Crews prepare for FOLEPI parade and a surprise

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EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s a million sparkles of excitement and it’s an award-winning East Peoria tradition.

“It’s not like you see it every day,” said Rick Swan, the executive director for the East Peoria Chamber of Commerce.

The Festival of Lights Parade is just weeks away and crews are working to prepare floats. Every year, the parade lights up the city as floats make their way down the street. Then, it’s on display for people to drive-thru and see.

“We did about 35,000 vehicles through the Winter Wonderland,” Swan.

In 2020, FOLEPI got national attention.

“I see license plates from all over the place, and last year, I mean it was coast to coast,” said Doug McCarty, the director of tourism and special events for the City of East Peoria. “It was incredible.”

McCarty expects large crowds again.

“We expected that residual effect from last year to take place this year, so we’re kind of preparing for another big year,” said McCarty.

This year, there’s going to be something new to see rolling through East Peoria.

“We continue to make improvements with the floats for the parade,” said McCarty.

Mccarty told WMBD crews there will be a toy train float. It’s back for the first time in about six years.

“We kept all the parts, we never wanted to get rid of it, and then we finally had the opportunity and kind of rebuild it, change the colors up on it, add a few features,” said McCarty.

On the toy train float, there’s also space for a special surprise.

“I think people will be very, very excited about,” said Swan.

McCarty said people are going to have to wait to see it. It’s making its debut on parade night for all to see.

The Festival of Lights parade is Saturday, Nov. 20, and starts at 5:45 p.m. There’s also a Livestream here on CIProud.com.

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