News Release

Media Contact:
Jennifer Hanson | (317) 237-2202 | | Twitter | Facebook
For Immediate Release:
November 14, 2017

Changes announced for annual Circle of Lights

Civic/public safety officials share new event footprint; security updates

For 55 years, thousands of spectators have gathered Downtown at Monument Circle to see the most spectacular holiday display illuminate. Downtown Indy, Inc.’s Circle of Lights® presented by IBEW #481 will take place the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 24. Local civic and public safety leaders shared event updates to better address crowd control, security and spectator-experience enhancements.

Changes include moving the performance stage off the steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument to the north spoke of Meridian Street, adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral.

Downtown Indy, Inc. (DII) manages the Circle of Lights, the largest, single-day, free community event that happens annually in Indiana. “Our goal is to maximize the space available on the Circle for the best enjoyment by our growing crowds,” said DII president Sherry Seiwert. “Each year, we sit down with our great public safety professionals from IMPD, IFD, State and Capitol police and others to determine event flow, public access, security protocols, etc. The movement of the stage to the under-utilized north spoke of the Circle will facilitate greater viewing opportunities for more spectators while ensuring the highest safety protocols.”

“Thousands attend the Circle of Lights each year and many who come have their traditional gathering and viewing spots mapped out well in advance,” said DII senior vice president of marketing/events Bob Schultz. “We wanted to get the word out sooner than later that a few changes are afoot and encourage the public to ‘know before you go’ for a smooth transition.”

IMPD Police Chief Bryan Roach confirmed a full commitment to public safety, along with IFD Chief Earnest Malone. They both reinforce that the high level of security for the Circle of Lights is due to the growing size of this event – not based on any specific safety concern or threat. As with most public, outdoor, large-scale events, the event footprint will be secured with hardened closures making it a pedestrian-only event. No vehicles will be permitted to drive onto the event footprint.

Additionally, Downtown Indy, Inc. announced that certain items will not be permitted by the public in order to accommodate the expected large crowds. These items include:

  • chairs,
  • pop-up tent,
  • coolers,
  • bicycles and
  • animals (except for service-animals).

In addition to the viewing area in front of the stage, spectators can watch the evening’s entertainment at three ‘viewing plazas’ located around Monument Circle on large screens. For more information, visit


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Event Background:

Downtown Indy, Inc.’s Circle of Lights® presented by IBEW #481 will take place Friday, Nov. 24 on Monument Circle from 6 – 8 p.m. More than 100,000 spectators are expected for the FREE ceremonial lighting and holiday kickoff.  Entertainers chosen from statewide auditions will share the stage with four professional acts, providing an Indy “Holiday Sampler.” Performers include Sandi Patty from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s IPL Yuletide Celebration; Dance Kaleidoscope’s Mariel Greenlee from World of Christmas; Broadway in Indianapolis’ Ralphie from A Christmas Story and the cast from the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s Lilly presents Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Festivities begin at 6 p.m. with the live televised show running from 7 – 8 p.m. on WTHR-13. Each year, a lucky child is chosen from the Carson’s Coloring Contest to help “flip the switch” with Santa and the Mayor. The Monument light-up will occur at approximately 7:55 p.m. To conclude the evening, watch the sky for the Fireworks Finale presented by Salesforce. After the Monument is lit, head to Carson’s Department Store for FREE Selfies with Santa from 8 – 10 p.m. This free public event is made possible by IBEW #481, Carson’s, Circle Centre Mall, Salesforce, Lights at the Brickyard, Central Indiana Chevy Dealers and The Hilton Family - Downtown Indianapolis.

About IBEW #481

As the presenting partner of Circle of Lights®, IBEW #481 represents more than 3,000 electrical workers. IBEW #481 provides the needed expertise, highly trained workforce, safety and dedication to help build many of Central Indiana’s premiere education, health care, utility and logistics projects. Visit

About Downtown Indy, Inc.

Circle of Lights® is an official program of Downtown Indy, Inc. which focuses on the development, management, activation and marketing of Downtown Indianapolis to make it a great place to live, learn, work and play. Visit for more information.