Painting With Lights Brightens Christmas in Oskaloosa

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OSKALOOSA, Iowa –– As 2020 unfolds and local events are cancelled out of coronavirus safety concerns, a couple of Oskaloosa traditions will go on with some changes.

The Painting With Lights is going on now. Each day at 4:30 pm, 250,000 LED lights turn on around the downtown square. Historic buildings around the square transform as darkness settles, going from staid to shimmering. And with that backdrop the Lighted Christmas Parade will carry on as well.

Jessica Reuter, who heads up the Main Street Oskaloosa for the Mahaska County Chamber and Development Group, explains that this year the floats will be stationary and spectators will drive a short route to view them. This year’s theme is Twinkling Twenties with entries taking on a look of 100 years ago. People must stay in their cars to comply with state safety guidelines. The Chamber has also put other area displays on a map so people can drive to see more lights after they drive the parade route. The Reverse Parade runs from 6-8 PM on December 5.

Reuter asks visitors to consider doing their Christmas shopping at small local businesses. “We also put together, for the first time, a Mahaska Wish Book, which highlights over 150 locally available gift ideas for everyone on your list.”

“This is something we can do to infuse a bit of joy into the end of the year. Even though holiday festivities look very different our downtown still dazzles.”

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