top of page

Rules & Regulations

The safety of our parade participants and spectators is a top priority for Festival of Lights organizers. It's important that all entries adhere to these rules and float specifications.

  • No walkers! Entries will travel as much as three miles along unlit streets that may be wet and icy.  Walkers are unable to keep pace with moving vehicles or stay warm. (Exceptions for safety reasons may be granted by the Festival of Lights Parade Chair. Approval must be received in writing and available upon request by parade staff at the event.) 

  • All parade participants shall conduct themselves in a responsible manner. No alcohol or drugs will be tolerated. The parade sponsors reserve the right to expel any float from the parade at any time.

  • Large crowds and a dark parade route create a safety concern; therefore, absolutely no candy or other items may be handed out during the parade.

  • No entry may feature a “live” Santa Claus. Santa will arrive on his own float at the end of the parade.

  • This is a nighttime parade in winter. Participants should dress appropriately for an extended time in cold weather. Consider including hot beverages and extra blankets.

  • Participants are not allowed to mount or dismount moving floats.

  • Vehicles may not use their headlights during the parade. All floats must be fully lit.

  • Floats must keep pace with the parade (approximately 5 miles per hour). Floats that cannot maintain the pace will be asked to withdraw.

  • Floats must refrain from horn honking during the parade.

  • All floats must be self-propelled or towed by either a motor vehicle or team of horses. No motor homes will be allowed.

  • Rapid City ordinance requires that a float and tow vehicle combined may not exceed 80 feet in length or 14 feet in height. Participants will be responsible for any damage done by oversized vehicles. Call the Festival of Lights Hotline at (605) 340-0914 for guidelines or technical assistance.

  • Generators used as a power source must be large enough to provide adequate power to supply the electrical needs of your float. All entries using a generator should muffle the noise. A three-sided box over the generator works well as long as you allow airflow. A refill of fuel should be available on the float or in the tow vehicle and must be in an approved container, with a manufacturer stamp of approval. A funnel is also recommended.

  • Every float must have a TYPE 2ABC FIRE EXTINGUISHER approved for liquid fuels available on the float. This will be strictly enforced!

  • A minimum of 50 lights per foot length of float is required, with more lights preferred. All entries must be clearly distinguishable and visually pleasing.

  • Floats should be constructed to withstand winds and wet weather. Crepe paper, tissue paper, and other paper products should be avoided.  All objects should be firmly attached to withstand high winds.

  • Music should be an integral part of your float. A portable sound system with hand-held microphones for singers and choral groups is recommended. Be sure your system is powerful enough to be heard above the crowd noise and the electrical generators.

  • Company logos should not be the main theme of the float. However, the sponsor’s name should be prominently displayed on the float. Signs should be well-lit and placed high on the float or towing vehicle for easy identification by judges and viewers.

  • Parade entries and float sponsors shall be responsible for the safe construction and operation of their floats.

  • All entries will be viewed in the staging area to determine if they comply with the rules and regulations as outlined. Entries that do not meet Parade standards may be asked to withdraw from the lineup.

  • Obey all South Dakota traffic laws in route to and from the staging and de-staging area. It is recommended that floats be partially lit as a safety precaution.

  • Entries must be in place by 5 p.m. No floats will be allowed in staging area prior to 3 p.m.

  • Access into the staging area is restricted to floats only. Float participants should meet up with their float before entering the staging area.

bottom of page