Parade tradition started with a letter

It all began with a letter to the editor.

The Bolenz Jewelry Holiday Parade that Northeast Michigan residents have come to love and adore all began with a simple question: “Why not a lighted parade at night?”

A reader who will forever be known as Alpena Lena wrote a letter to the editor to The Alpena News suggesting the community switch its parade from Friday afternoon, when a lot of people still are working, to Friday evening instead and make it a lighted parade.

Parade organizers and Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce officials agreed the idea had merit, so they tried it and, well — the rest is history.

Ever since the parade was moved, the region seems to glow even brighter. Truthfully, we would think it hard to be a Scrooge tonight at the evening parade.

Today, Black Friday, ushers in the official start to the Christmas shopping season. And while we all call it by that Black Friday name, in Northeast Michigan today is anything but black. Today is silver, white and glittery — bright and beautiful and, well, twinkling.

Today is our festival of lights. It is a time when everyone seems happy as they enjoy the beauty of the parade and the lights … oh, those wonderful lights.

It is our wish for readers that this holiday season you not get caught up with all the stress from the hustle and bustle, but instead slow down and enjoy the simple beauty of the holiday lights around you.

Savor the season and all it has to offer.