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13News Now Vault: Norfolk's Grand Illumination Parade started in 1985

That was the first year of a tradition we know very well today.
Credit: 13News Now

NORFOLK, Va. — November of 1985 saw the start of a Norfolk tradition that we know very well in 2021.

Thousands would bundle up on the 23rd of that month for the first annual Grand Illumination Parade. The Illumination would eventually incorporate the tallest buildings in Downtown Norfolk, and the parade continued to run smoothly for the following 35 years.

RELATED: MAP: Holiday decorations light up across Hampton Roads

Then in 2020, the parade was canceled for the first time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But people still found ways to find the holiday spirit by ice skating at MacArthur Center and enjoying holiday lights blanketing downtown streets.

Unfortunately, the parade is canceled once again in 2021. There were too many uncertainties earlier in the year, and it wasn’t worth risking months of planning for the event.

But a big part of the tradition -- the lighting of the Norfolk and Portsmouth skylines -- is still scheduled for November 20 at 7 p.m.

You can read about other holiday festivities happening in Norfolk this winter by clicking here.

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