By Jim Bloch
The Lighted Santa Parade opens the holiday season in high style tonight, Nov. 17, in St. Clair starting at 6 p.m. It’s the 14th annual edition of the parade, which began in 2009 and has been held every year since with the exception of the pandemic year of 2020.
“We have 43 entries this year, an all-time record by one,” said Sue Daniels, who heads the parade effort each year.
The parade starts at the intersection of Vine and Sixth streets, flows east on Vine to M-29 where in turns south in front of Riverview Plaza and continues to Jay Street. Jim and Sandy Shafran and Dale and Lois Kaufman orchestrate the start of the parade, directing the 43 parade units into single cohesive line. Holy Family Episcopal Church will open its doors as a warming station for parade participants.
Santa will bring up the rear of the procession escorted by the Marching Saints of St. Clair High School and the school’s honor society.
“Joining Santa this year for the first time will be Katie Kringle,” said Daniels.
Volunteers from the St. Clair Police Foundation will assist with crowd control along the parade route.
The parade has a new purveyor for its annual live reindeer display.
“They’re coming all the way from Shining Star Ranch in Fowlerville,” said Daniels. “They have a real nice place over there.”
At least two live reindeer will be on display in the courtyard of the plaza — and maybe a baby.
After the procession, Mayor Bill Cedar and Santa will oversee the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree in Palmer Park along the riverfront and lead a community sing-along of “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
Santa will then make his way over to the plaza courtyard where he will greet children in front of the chamber of commerce office.
The temperature is expected to fall all day, from a high of 55 degrees at 2 a.m. to 40 degrees at 6 p.m. The forecast called for rain until early afternoon with cloudy skies the rest of the day.
“If the rain stops, we’ll be okay,” said Daniels. “We have not been rained on before.”
The parade will proceed under rain or clouds.
The Santa Committee that produces the parade is made up city employees and citizen volunteers.
“It’s for the kids,” Daniels said.
Jim Bloch is a freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. Contact him at email@example.com.