Bret Kolman, CEO of Lafayette County Regional Health Center and newly elected 2010 Lexington Scrooge, will be Grand Marshal of tonight’s Festival of Lights Parade, beginning at 7 p.m.

Kolman won a spirited contest that raised a record amount for the Lexington Food Pantry and Festival of Lights Committee. Ninety percent of the amount raised will go to the Food Pantry. Other candidates for Scrooge were Dale Ensor, Lafayette County Treasurer, and Dawson “Slick” Heathman, former Lafayette County Assessor.

Tonight’s parade will be led by a color guard from Lexington Middle School trained and sponsored by American Legion Post 60. Scrooge will travel in a lighted carriage from Browning’s Carriages of Buckner. Santa Claus will bring up the rear of the parade in another Browning carriage. Mark Neer will be master of ceremonies for the parade.

The parade will pause briefly in front of the Lafayette County Courthouse for the traditional Lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree. The tree was donated by Scott Slusher and sports new decorations donated by George and Charolette Stier of Il Bel Carrello. This year, the tree will be dedicated to surviving veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Gulf War, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. WWII veterans Frank Luce, John Morrison and Kenny Maib will assist in lighting of the tree. James Streicher, youth minister at First Baptist Church, will give the invocation.

Lighted parade entries will compete for the Lexington Rotary Club Grand Prize of $100, the Lafayette Regional Health Center 1st Runner-Up Prize of $75 and the B&L Bank 2nd Runner-Up Prize of $50. Judges for the competition are Bill and Davoren Tempel, Don and Ann Coen and Lynda Johnson.

Following the Parade, Santa Claus will be at the River Reader bookstore at 1010 Main St. to meet the children. Photos with Santa will be available for a $2 donation. Browning’s Carriage Rides will offer rides through downtown before and after the parade for $5 per person. The Festival of Lights Committee is also sponsoring a bake sale to help raise funds for the parade. The sale will be at the Lexington Tourism Bureau, 927 Main St., from 3 to 8 p.m.