NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The City of Norfolk is seeking applicants to be part of the 37th Annual Grand Illumination Parade in Downtown Norfolk.

The popular event is put on by the Downtown Norfolk Council and is considered the official kick-off of the holiday season in the city. This year’s theme is Gingerbread Dreams.

The parade is scheduled for Saturday, November 18 at 7 p.m. It includes marching bands, floats, animals, and more… and of course Santa!

If your business or organization would like to participate in this great family tradition, you have until September 8 to apply. There’s also an early bird deadline of August 11. Please note, there is an entry fee.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

An application does not guarantee you’ll be a part of the parade. Organizers say the application process is competitive.

“We are looking for creative participants that will entertain the thousands of community members that come out for the parade every year,” said Sam Black, director of marketing & communications for the Downtown Norfolk Council. “The Grand Illumination Parade is limited to a set number of units in each category, and selections are made by a committee of dedicated parade volunteers.”