March 23 • 12:40 PM

The Holidays Are Here!

Area communities celebrate the season with parades, Santa visits

Katelyn Jones, 9, is all smiles as she discusses this year’s desired Christmas gifts with Santa Claus at the Historical Museum in Imlay City. photo by Tom Wearing.

December 05, 2007
Editor's note: The following is a roundup of the weekend's holiday activities. Each of our writers visited an area community to bring you all the happenings.

IMLAY CITY — "Baby it's cold outside!"

Those words (minus the 'baby' part) were heard often Friday evening, as a couple hundred hardy souls huddled and clustered together downtown to keep warm while awaiting Santa Claus' arrival.

The Imlay City High School marching band, local Scouts, veterans and other marching units did their best to break through the biting cold. But by parade's end, Mother Nature sent everyone scurrying for warmth in multiple directions.

In was so cold, that few witnessed the official lighting of the newly-purchased 21-foot Christmas tree at the corner of Third and Main streets.

Some of the chilled parade watchers sought refuge in downtown businesses, while dozens of kids, accompanied by their parents, made a beeline for the Imlay City Historical Museum, where Santa was waiting to hear Christmas wishes.

Once inside, Santa, whose beard had begun to collect icicles along the parade route, quickly broke the ice and warmed the hearts of young and old.

Santa said later that he was pleased that most of the children's wishes were of a modest nature, not withstanding the little girl who asked for a new "laptop" computer.

—Tom Wearing

ALMONT — There was plenty of Christmas spirit Saturday evening for Almont's 10th Holly Days Light Parade.

Out of the 21 parade entries, Almont Girl Scout Troops 1914 and 3231 won the hearts of the judges by dressing up like Christmas packages. The Almont Dryden Lioness and Almont Lions Club took second place and Almont Girl Scout Troop 1704 earned the third spot.

'Relay for Life' provided shoppers with Christmas stocking stuffers, beginning their fundraiser early for the 2008 cancer drive, and Vineyard Church handed out hot apple cider to help stave off the chilly weather in an effort to raise funds for the growing needs of their youth group.

Mrs. Claus kept the crowd entertained handing out candy canes and warm smiles and Santa fulfilled every child's dream by arriving in a fire truck.

Joshua Sandlin, 5, of Almont was the first in the long line weaving out the DDA building to tell Santa his Christmas wish. He got right to the point but his brother, 10-month-old Jackson Sandlin, had to think a little.

DDA Director Nancy Boxey was relieved that the winter storm held off so visitors could enjoy the hard work she and volunteers put into the event.

"We were so blessed that the weather held out for us," Boxey grinned.

Always crowd pleasers, the Almont High School Varsity Dance Team danced down Main Street to the lively beat of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

Santa and the Mrs. with elves Ellen Papineau and Elena Boxey wait for visitors at DDA building. photo by Catherine Brakefield.

Almont's PTA Royal Family for 2007 included Orchard Primary students Snowflake King Colby Querciagrossa and Queen Claire Gordon and Almont Elementary students King Cody Vigiletti and Queen Kelli Hajski.

—Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

CAPAC — Through the wind and rain, Santa Claus arrived in Capac on Sunday. The inclement weather didn't deter families from coming out in force to visit with him and Mrs. Claus and they stayed to watch him dodge rain drops during the lighted parade.

Chloe Moran, 3, of Capac, braved her fears when it came time to greet the jolly old elf.

"This is the first time she's sat on his lap," her mom, Diann Moran, said.

"And, she's actually talking to him."

Andrea Robson, 5 and Nick Collins, 7 snacked on hot dogs, hot chocolate and donuts at the Mussey Twp. Fire Hall after taking their turns on Santa's lap.

Andrea asked for three Bratz dolls and a fairy book. Nick was even more selfless. He only asked for one Bratz.

Huddled under a tarp, Capac High School choir students sang holiday tunes at Mr. R's as the parade of lighted firetrucks, golf carts and a a Capac school bus passed on Main St. There, the crowd watched as Santa stopped to light the village's tree.

—Maria Brown

DRYDEN — It won't make national headlines, but maybe—just maybe—it should.

Each and every kid who stopped at the fire hall on Saturday for a visit with Santa had something remarkable to say. Every single one of them say they've been good all year long!

Santa and Mrs. Claus heard the wishes of the very good area boys and girls during Dryden's annual holiday celebration.

Along with volunteers from the new Dryden Twp. Firefighters Auxiliary, members of the Dryden Historical Society were on hand to spread some holiday cheer. Hot dogs and hot chocolate were served up free to visiting families, courtesy of downtown merchants. The annual Historical Society Cookie and Craft Sale offered a little something to sweeten the experience for visiting families.

The friendly and non-frenzied experience was perfect for Amy Pusz and Lisa Poirier, who stopped in with a group of children.

"It sure beats standing in a long line at the mall," Lisa says with a smile.

Amy agrees, adding that she likes the simplicity of the holiday event.

"It's great, a simple small town thing that's really nice for the kids," she says.

As for the kids, Natalie Poirier, 6, and her friend Makenna Pusz, 5, like telling their Christmas wishes to Santa. A walking Bratz doll for Natalie and a Nintendo DS for Makenna will hopefully show up under their tree. Both swear they've been good all year long.

Three-year-old Weston Pusz wasn't too comfortable around the jolly old bearded elf, but Devin Eberhart, 10, had no problem relaying his Christmas wish.

"More dirt bike gear for my bike," he says. He too has been "good" all year.

The Dubecky family munch on hot dogs nearby, giving daughter Nina, 6, a little time to figure out what she'll wish for for Christmas.

"I'm not sure yet," Nina says, "but I've been a good girl."

—Catherine Minolli

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