Everything You Want and Need to Know About the Indianapolis Circle of Lights

Indianapolis circle of lights history
Lights on the monument in Indy

The holiday seasons has begun, and things are about to get LIT. Most importantly, the Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument built on Monument Circle. This year’s lighting will take place on November 23, 2018 at 7:55 p.m. Like every year, it will be filled with toy soldiers, peppermint sticks and a lot of appreciation for the men and women who have fought to protect our country. If you’re planning on attending the lighting, here’s some things you might like to know:

The History

Standing tall at 284 ft 6 in, the Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument has become the iconic symbol of Indianapolis. In fact, the monument is so iconic it’s been placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and the U.S. National Historic Landmark District.

The monument was designed by Bruno Schmitz, a German architect, and built between 1888 and 1901. Its original purpose was to honor veterans of the American Civil War, but also became a tribute to the Indiana soldiers who served during the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War and the Spanish-American War. Built of oolitic limestone from Owen County, Indiana, the  Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument is the first monument to be dedicated to the common soldier in the U.S.

The talk to decorate began in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until 1962 that the first lighting took place. Now, in its 56th year, thousands will gather downtown at Monument Circle for the free ceremonial lighting.

The Lights

This year’s lighting is presented by Contractors of Quality Connection and Electrical Workers of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, IBEW #481. The monument will be dressed with 4,784 lights and 52 garland strands, which collectively complete the 242-foot display. The lights are strung from top to bottom, turning the monument it to Indiana’s very own Christmas tree.

One noteworthy change to this year’s display is the switch to the use of LED bulbs. This switch is phase one in the Keeping Spirits Bright capital campaign, which aims to raise $2 million to ensure this tradition gets better and brighter each year.

This Year’s Event

Twenty-six life-like toy soldiers and sailors will accompany this monument as well as 26 peppermint sticks, and the walkways will be illuminated by the tree’s 56,700 lights. There will be a children’s coloring contest, and the lucky little winner will be invited to the stage to light up Monument Circle.

The night will include statewide and local entertainment, with festivities beginning at 6 p.m. and the live, televised show will run from 7-8 p.m. on NBC

Everything You Want and Need to Know About the Indianapolis Circle of Lights