SMWC brings new Christmas parade to downtown Terre Haute

December 8th, 2016 | SMWC

Christmas Parade banner
SMWC students Karah and Kalea Ellis of Terre Haute, carry the Light Your Way banner at the front of the Christmas parade in downtown Terre Haute on Dec. 2. The sisters helped organize the first Light Your Way parade presented by SMWC

Holiday cheer was on full display on Friday evening as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, in partnership with Miracle on 7th Street, presented Terre Haute, Indiana’s first “Light Your Way” Christmas parade. It proved to be a spectacular addition to the annual Miracle event.

Thousands of local residents, including many families, lined the streets of downtown for the parade, which included more than 60 entrants. The parade showcased the Christmas spirit with holiday lights illuminating from the floats and marching bands filling the streets with the magical sounds of the season. Among the parade participants were universities, colleges, high schools, churches, various organizations, SMWC’s horses and equestrian teams, and of course, Santa Claus himself. Nearly 90 SMWC faculty, staff and students participated.

Dottie King, Ph.D., president of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, and her husband, Wayne, served as the grand marshals.

Terre Haute Airport Christmas parade float
This float by the Terre Haute Regional Airport was proclaimed “Most Creative” winner. Best Lights was the Terre Haute Parks & Recreation Department and Best Overall was Ellis Law.

Initial planning for the event began seven months ago under the leadership of Rachel Leslie, SMWC vice president for external affairs. It was organized by two students, sisters Karah and Kalea Ellis of Terre Haute.

“I am impressed with the tenacity and enthusiasm of these young women to bring this endeavour to fruition,” said Leslie.

She added, “The vision was to celebrate our rich community across generations through the joy of Christmas. And we were moved by the overwhelmingly positive response. We are particularly grateful to Boo Lloyd and the Miracle on 7th Street committee for allowing us to partner on this special event.”

The winners of the parade were: 
Best Lights – Terre Haute Parks & Recreation Department
Most Creative – Terre Haute Regional Airport
Best Overall – Ellis Law


Christmas Parade SMWC group

Nearly 90 SMWC students, staff and faculty, including the equestrian teams, attended the first downtown Christmas parade sponsored by the College on Dec. 2. Around 60 floats created by various local organizations paraded through the streets with participants waving to thousands in attendance.

Light Your Way parade organizers Kalea and Karah Ellis enjoyed a moment with the Grinch after the Light Your Way parade in downtown Terre Haute on Dec. 2