LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Light Up Louisville is back in full swing this year after taking 2020 off. 

Light Up Louisville is the official start to the holidays in Louisville on Nov. 26, and some COVID precautions will be in place at this year's celebration. Kids won't be able to take pictures with Santa because of COVID protocols, but the jolly elf in the red suit will still be in Jefferson Square park the day after Thanksgiving to light the massive 45-foot Christmas tree.

Mayor Greg Fischer and community partners gathered with the city's "Elf Squad" to announce the plans for the 41st annual celebration. Last year's event was heavily altered because of the pandemic and only included lights and a traveling Santa.

This year everything is pretty much back to normal. The event will include a "Lots of Lights" parade with more than 70 units, food and craft vendors, a photo booth and kids activities.

The evening will cap off with Santa lighting the tree and a fireworks show -- which took quite a bit of planning with Wayne Hettinger, the man behind Louisville's annual Thunder Over Louisville. 

"I'm privileged to -- after the mayor first made contact with Mr. Claus, I made contact with North Pole operations," Hettinger said. "If you're not excited in July working with these guys, then something's wrong. That's an 18-digit phone number."

The mayor hopes the Light Up Louisville event encourages people to get in the giving spirit for the Toys for Tots drive, scheduled for Dec. 3. Drop-off locations include all Louisville Metro fire stations, Metro Hall, Paristown and Mission BBQ.

Light Up Louisville events will begin with a parade at 6:45 p.m. on Nov. 26., and the lighting of the Christmas tree is scheduled for 8 p.m. To find out more, click here

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