Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

The Champaign Center Partnership is delighted to announce Joe DeLuce, founder of the Parade of Lights and Executive Director of the Champaign Park District, as the grand marshal for the 22nd annual Parade of Lights!

“With over 25 years of service to our community through his work at the Champaign Park District as well as being the original founder of the Parade of Lights back in 2001, DeLuce was an ideal pick for the grand marshal this year,” said Xander Hazel, Executive Director of the Champaign Center Partnership.

DeLuce has served two terms on the Illinois Park and Recreation Association Board of Directors and is currently on the Illinois Association of Park District’s Joint Legislative Committee. He recently received the Joe Bannon Practitioner Award from the University of Illinois Recreation, Sports and Tourism Department. DeLuce is married to Jayne Turpin DeLuce and has two children, Jenna and Jordan. Joe plans on retiring from the Champaign Park District at the end of this year and will embark on some traveling with his wife.

When asked how he first came up with the idea for the parade Joe stated, “I lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Every year on the intercoastal, they have a boat parade at night and all the boats are lit up. My wife and I loved seeing the boat parade. We thought it would be great to do that here in Champaign and make it a festive holiday event at night.”

DeLuce was nominated by Chelsea Norton, Marketing Director at the Champaign Park District

The 2022 Champaign Center Parade of Lights, presented by Christie Clinic, will take place in Downtown Champaign on Saturday, November 26 at 6:00 p.m. This year’s theme is the “Island of Misfit Toys.” Pre-parade programming begins at 3:00 pm with Visits with Santa at Big Grove Tavern, horse and carriage rides and entertainment. Make a day of it in downtown Champaign, enjoying holiday festivities and shopping for locally-sourced gifts on Small Business Saturday. Volunteers are still needed to help during the parade.

The Parade of Lights event schedule and volunteer sign-up are available at ChampaignCenter.com. For more information, call the Champaign Center Partnership office at 217-352-2400