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Metro Newsroom

Downtown Will Glow at Light Up Louisville 2009

Thursday November 5, 2009

 Evening Parade, 5K Run/Walk new this year

Donations encouraged for Toys for Tots

Mayor Jerry Abramson announced today that Light Up Louisville will return for its 29th year on Nov. 27. New features include the “Run Run Rudolph” 5K run in the afternoon and an evening parade of lights. The “Light Up” displays and lights will be featured nightly throughout the holiday season.

“For nearly three decades, Light Up Louisville has been bringing friends and families together for great holiday entertainment,” Abramson said. “The generous support of our local corporate sponsors allows us to continue offering this wonderful event beginning the day after Thanksgiving.”

GE Consumer & Industrial and Louisville Gas and Electric Co. are the presenting sponsors of the classic holiday event that will include entertainment, food, crafts, a parade and children’s activities on the grounds surrounding Metro Hall at the corner of Sixth and Jefferson streets. The event is free.

“GE has made a strong commitment to going green through our ecomagination initiative, and we are proud to be a part of helping Louisville make the holiday season greener,” said Jim Campbell, president and CEO of GE Consumer & Industrial. "It's important for us at GE to give back to the Louisville community, which so many of our employees and retirees call home."

“Giving back to the communities we serve is important for us and our employees, and sponsoring Light Up Louisville for a fifth year is an extension of that commitment,” said Victor A. Staffieri, chairman, CEO and president of E.ON U.S., parent company of Louisville Gas and Electric Company. "Light Up Louisville has been a great tradition for the region and changing the parade to a nighttime event should be especially exciting for the children to see.”

Light Up festivities begin at 3 p.m., when food, beverage, and craft booths open along with an entertainment stage featuring Christmas music by local groups and choirs.

The new “Run Run Rudolph” 5K Run/Walk, presented by Baptist Health also begins at 3 p.m. The event starts and ends on Jefferson Street (Santa Claus Lane) in the heart of Light Up Louisville. Fee to participate is $20 for adults; $10 for children under 12 and $25 for adults and $10 for children after November 23. Register online at or Participants will receive a high quality long sleeve T-shirt and valuable coupons. Proceeds from Run Run Rudolph 5K Run will benefit Baptist Hospital Foundation.

The annual Winter Wonderland Holiday Parade presented by Wendy’s has changed to become an evening parade of lights that begins at 6 p.m. Parade units will be decorated in festive lights and will include bands, carolers, car clubs, floats, children’s groups and civic organizations. The parade will also feature holiday-themed inflatables sponsored by Bank of America.

"We are very excited to partner the Wendy's brand with such a wonderful family-oriented event as Light Up Louisville", said Mary Gardner, marketing manager for Wendy’s. “The Winter Wonderland Holiday Parade always has outstanding floats and performers for kids of all ages to enjoy.”

The “Wendy’s Frosty Award” will be presented to the best overall parade unit. Other awards will be given out in seven categories. Units will be judged as they pass by Metro Hall with winners announced after the parade. The parade begins at 8th and Jefferson, goes east on Jefferson to 4th Street, north on 4th to Main Street, finishing at 8th and Jefferson.

Santa Claus is expected to arrive at 8 p.m. Santa will join the mayor and representatives of GE and LG&E to insert the magic plug to light the twinkling lights and launch a holiday fireworks display.

Inside Metro Hall, a “Holidays Around the World” display presented by Boost Mobile will feature more than 20 trees and displays that will be decorated to recognize Louisville’s cultural diversity. The trees will remain on display in Metro Hall during regular business hours through the holidays.

Metro Hall will also feature The Galt House Hotel Santa’s Workshop, where families and children will have an opportunity to write letters to U.S. troops serving overseas. In addition, outside of Metro Hall, families will be able to sign a large community card.

Toys for Tots

Members of the U.S. Marine Corps will again be stationed at Light Up Louisville to accept donations of new toys for Toys for Tots. Attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy to donate.

“Our community has shown compassion and caring each year through this wonderful organization,” said Abramson. “We hope people will bring an extra toy or two for the Toys for Tots campaign so children around our community will have a joyous holiday.”

City Seeking Donated Tree

Abramson said the city is still looking for someone to donate the large Christmas tree that will stand in Jefferson Square Park through the holidays. “It’s always the main attraction of our Light Up celebration and we hope someone will come forward with just the right tree.” The tree should be a spruce or fir, about 40 feet tall and well-shaped. The city will cut and transport the tree to its prominent spot at 6th and Jefferson Streets. Anyone interested in donating a tree should call MetroCall 311.

Light Up Continues to “Go Green”

Almost all of the lights have been converted to LED, which are more durable, longer lasting and use less electricity. LEDs will be used on the 30-plus trees in Jefferson Square Park. LG&E estimated the approximate cost of illuminating the display lights throughout the season and donated the equivalent amount in Green Energy Tags to offset the lights’ carbon emissions. “We are pleased that for the second year, the city is allowing LG&E to make the event even greener by off-setting the carbon emissions produced by the lights with Green Energy Tags," Staffieri said. The tags support the operation and growth of renewable energy.

A tree display on the steps outside Metro Hall will feature live trees donated by Wallitsch Garden Center. After the holidays, the trees will be planted in local Metro Parks. The main tree will also have new life at the conclusion of Light Up. The tree will be mulched and used at the Louisville Zoo for landscaping needs.

LG&E is again sponsoring recycling bins next to every garbage receptacle at Light Up Louisville.

Special Attractions at Lofuisville Visitor's Center

The Louisville Visitors Center will host a Holiday Open House during Light Up Louisville featuring some of Louisville's premier attractions like Glassworks, Belle of Louisville, Louisville Science Center, Old Louisville Visitors Center, and our newest attraction Louisville Mega Cavern. Enjoy free hot beverages and giveaways, including attractions tickets and Louisville merchandise!

The Visitors Center, located at the corner of Fourth and Jefferson is open on Friday, November 27 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Special Hotel Rates, Spirit of Jefferson Cruise

The Galt House Hotel & Suites will have special reduced room rates Wednesday through Sunday for Light Up, $79 for the RIVUE Tower and $99 for an Executive Suite which includes complimentary wi-fi and admission tickets to Churchill Downs. Contact the Galt House, 1-800-The-Galt or (502) 589-5200.

The Spirit of Jefferson is offering a “Light Up Louisville” cruise from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Boarding time starts at 8:30 and tickets are $10. Call 574-2992 or visit to purchase tickets.

For more information about Light Up Louisville, call MetroCall 311 or visit


2009 Light Up Louisville sponsorship partners include:

Presenting sponsors:

GE Consumer & Industrial and Louisville Gas & Electric Company

Winter Wonderland Parade sponsor: Wendy's and Wendy's Wonderful Kids, a signature program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

Parade inflatables: Bank of America

Run Run Rudolph 5K Run/Walk: Baptist Health Kentucky

Galt House Hotel Santa’s Workshop sponsors: AAA Kentucky, Caldwell Tanks, Inc.

(Special thanks to The Event Company)

Greeting Card to the Troops and Holidays Around the World Trees: Boost Mobile

Holiday Pubs: Budweiser

Contributing Sponsors: Galt House Hotel, 4th St. Live

Holiday Cards: Bank of America

Special thanks to: Messer Construction Co.

In-kind partners: The Event Company, Wallitsch Garden Center, White Oak at Artemesia, Messer Construction, Jefferson Community & Technical Culinary program

Media partners: Insight Communications, Lite 106.9 WVEZ, 107.7 SFR, New Country Q103.1, MetroTV, Al Dia en Louisville and The Louisville Defender

Light Up Louisville Charities:

Toys for Tots and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, GLADA Participating Dealers – collection sites


2009 Schedule – 29th Annual Light Up Louisville

3 p.m. Light Up Louisville festivities open

Run Run Rudolph 5K Run/Walk by Baptist Health

U.S. Marines on duty at the main tree in Jefferson Square to accept gifts for “Toys for Tots”

Entertainment on stage begins (holiday music)

All food and craft booths open (Jefferson St. and Jefferson Square)

Holiday Pub opens

Holidays Around the World trees and displays opens (Metro Hall)

6 p.m. Winter Wonderland Holiday Parade

Parade starts at Eighth and Jefferson streets and goes eastward to Santa Claus Lane (Jefferson St.) and turns left on Fourth Street going north and turns left on Main Street. The parade turns left at (6th Street) to end.

Entrants featuring local bands, dance groups, holiday-themed units, youth and civic groups

4-7 p.m. Santa’s Workshop of free children’s activities opens (Metro Hall)

8 p.m. Santa Claus arrives


8:30-10 p.m. Entertainment on main stage, food and craft vendors continue

9-10:30 p.m. Spirit of Jefferson “Light Up Louisville” cruise

All events are FREE except for purchases from food and craft vendors, the 5K run/walk and Spirit of Jefferson cruise. Everyone is encouraged to bring a toy donation (unwrapped) for the United States Marines Toys for Tots. Marines will be stationed at the Jefferson Square tree to accept donations.