Before the Parade Passes By

Before the Parade Passes By

Students from the Academy of the Arts were grateful it didn’t snow on their parade when they participated in a unique performance this Thanksgiving.

Festive floats, live music, waving crowds; what could be better than a holiday parade? Each year Naperville’s Holiday Parade of Lights draws thousands of visitors to the heart of town as they prepare to welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus. Hosted by the Rotary Club of Naperville, this year’s event is expected to raise almost $75,000 for local charities.

Traditionally the parade has always featured children from performing arts schools and this year organizers were especially delighted to welcome newcomers from the Academy of the Arts.

“The Academy of the Arts float really brightened up our Rotary Holiday Parade as a new entry this year,” said event co-chair Donna Malone. “Honestly, they may have even given Santa and Mrs. Claus a run for their money as the crowd favorite.  The kids were dressed up perfectly and their talent was undeniable as they passed the thousands of bright-eyed children watching from the sidelines and singing along with them – in awe that these famous princesses and even Olaf was right in front of them in their hometown of Naperville.”

The parade provided just as much fun to those participating as watching.

Fifteen-year-old Amira Woods said: “It was an incredible experience for me because I love performing and playing a character.  I was Princess Tiana who has been my favorite Disney Princess since I was a little girl, so it was a dream come true! It was an amazing event!”

For Alexandria Danley, 13, the parade was a chance to see what life might be like if one of her dreams comes true.

“I’ve always wanted to work at Disney as a character in this gave me a little glimpse of what it would be like,” she said. “I really enjoyed being able to be Elsa for little kids and just making them smile.”