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Let There Be Light

Every year during the holiday season, San Antonio’s famed River Walk abounds with lights. It’s a local tradition that has been practiced for more than 20 years as part of the Ford Holiday River Parade & Lighting Ceremony, and hundreds of thousands of eager San Antonio residents gather for the lighting celebration.

It begins at 7 pm on the Friday following Thanksgiving with the simple flip of a switch. With this flip, the entire stretch of the River Walk is illuminated by 122,000 twinkling lights, and the Holiday River Parade begins. The parade features embellished floats, local celebrities, bands and other lively participants, all dressed in lavishly decorated costumes.

Combined with San Antonio’s fantastic holiday weather and festive spirit, this event is a one-of-a-kind way for the whole family to dive head first into the holiday season. The parade and lighting ceremony is also the official kick-off of the Paseo Del Rio holiday festivities, like the Ford Holiday Boat Caroling along the River Walk, beginning Nov. 24, 2023. More than 185 groups share their voices, singing traditional carols along cruising boats. Groups range from bell choirs to Latin ensembles, all encompassing the eclectic spirit of the city.

The Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias features luminarias placed along the lush banks of the River Walk. More than 6,000 of these sand-filled bags are filled with gently flickering candles. The Ford Holiday River Parade & Lighting Ceremony will take place on Friday, Nov. 24 at 6 pm.

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