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Bemidji prepares to celebrate Night We Night

Along with the expected red and green, Friday's Night We Light parade is going to have a lot of blue and white, too.

Two of the floats expected to take part in the 15th annual parade will include the Bemidji High School football team, its coaches, managers, cheerleaders and mascot.

The Lumberjacks will appear in the parade before competing Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis in the Class 4A state championship game against Rocori, a team made up of students from Cold Spring, Rockville and Richmond in the St. Cloud area.

The football team's floats, which of course will be decked out in school colors, will be among about 60 taking part in the annual parade.

The parade begins at 6 p.m. It starts at Eighth Street Northwest and Beltrami Avenue Northwest and will go south along Beltrami to Third Street Northwest and head west to Irvine Avenue Northwest.

Following the parade, which lasts about an hour, the community will gather at the Lake Bemidji waterfront for the 16th annual lighting of the Christmas lights.

The Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority sponsor the event.

In-kind donations are provided by the city of Bemidji, Paul Bunyan Amateur Radio Club, Bemidji Citizens Patrol and Sentence to Serve.

Lori Paris, the chamber's president, said that support is crucial.

The city provides more than two weeks of labor to install lights at the waterfront.

The Radio Club provides the necessity manpower and communication to make sure all the lights at the waterfront and throughout downtown are all turned on at precisely the same time.

Paris said the club members are stationed throughout downtown at different kiosks and radio one another to all hit their respective switches - 10 in all - at the same time.

The Citizens Patrol handles the patrol needed of the area and Sentence to Serve helps string the lights at ground levels.