A Gingerbread Christmas is the theme of Downtown Billings' 31st Annual Holiday Parade and 25th Annual Christmas Stroll.

The festivities on November 27th will feature some longstanding traditions along with some new activities that promise to become staples of the evening in the future.

The parade begins at 7 p.m. and will follow the traditional city parade route starting at North 27th Street and Third Avenue, proceeding west on Third Avenue to North 32nd Street, and returning back down Second Avenue under Skypoint where the Christmas Stroll will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the street on Broadway between First and Second Avenue North.

At the start of the festivities, special guests will illuminate the live Christmas tree outside at Billings First Church on North 27th Street and Third Avenue.

This year's parade and Christmas Stroll will host a Gingerbread House Competition for professional architects and chefs, according to Natasha Potratz, arts and events director of the Downtown Billings Alliance. The gingerbread houses will be displayed downtown during the holiday season through Christmas Stroll and Artwalk. The winner of the competition will receive a $500 donation to the charity of his or her choice. There will be a People's Choice award for best gingerbread house. For more information, visit www.downtownbillings.com.

A new feature this year is Santa's Downtown Dash for Cash.

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This run will take place on the parade route, right before the Holiday Parade kick-off. As participants cross the finish line under Skypoint, they will receive Elf Envelopes with downtown gift cards and Shop Small Monopoly game boards. Some cash will be hidden in many of them, too, according to Potratz.

The Christmas Stroll, created to showcase downtown shops and restaurants, will include street vendors offering arts and crafts, hot chocolate, cider, roasted nuts, baked goods, and more. Throughout the evening, there will be Christmas music and participating businesses decorate their store fronts, offer treats, hold later shopping hours, and offer drink specials. Children will have the opportunity to have their pictures taken with Santa.

Parade spectators are advised that it is illegal to park on a parade route one half hour before and throughout the duration of an officially sanctioned parade. Violators are subject to a fine. Also note that the parade will stage and line up on all streets between North 26th and North 19th and between Second Avenue North and Fourth Avenue North.

On December 4th, the Holiday Artwalk will take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Galleries and businesses will open their doors and welcome the public to enjoy art, retail offerings, refreshments, and a festive night with friends and family, in the heart of Billings.