A holiday parade like no other, this celebration lasts for hours and all takes place at night, illuminating Clayton, New York, with colorful hues coming from spectacular floats. Only something as dazzling as the Clayton Christmas Parade could draw – and keep – so many people at the chilly shoreline of the St. Lawrence River in early December.

Many of the more than 40 floats are monstrous and participants seem to outperform themselves every year. Festival tunes play throughout the downtown and the shops reopen to the delight of all, offering warm cocktails and gift options aplenty.

It all ends with a spectacular fireworks display and, of ours, Santa. It’s a truly great “off season reason” to visit.