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Parading down main street
November 29, 2008 - Diane Speer
Gotta love Alpena's annual Christmas parade. Ever since the city opted to switch it from a daytime parade to an evening one, there just seems to be something magical about it. This year's event surely fit that bill, with softly falling snow, tons of adults and children lined along downtown Alpena's main street and, of course, the wonderful floats that demonstrate such spirit and creativity.
Each year the floats get better and better. I know this for a fact because - lucky for me - I've gotten to serve as a judge ever since the parade became an evening tradition. It's not an easy task though it is a thoroughly enjoyable one. This year my fellow judges and I (Mike Nunnelly and Mary Centalla) had the advantageous viewing spot of a stand erected in front of the Chamber of Commerce building. We don't really take bribes though several entries this year made sure to wave conspicuously to us as they passed by the judges' stand, and to even toss candy to us. Neiman's Family Market - always a fun entry to watch - good-naturedly pelted us with bagels and a youth hockey association brought us each a wreath. Great fun from beginning to end!
The entries seem to travel past the judges quickly and making a determination is never an easy job. We know a ton of work goes into making each float, so we applaud the efforts of everyone who helps to make the annual Christmas parade so special. Even if they don't all win prizes, they still add a great deal to the overall magical experience.
The evening parade, followed by the lighting of the community Christmas tree, are such positives for the downtown and help to officially kick off the holiday season. Hats off to everyone who works so hard - including parade sponsors Lafarge North America and Bolenz Jewerly - so that local residents and visitors alike can see Alpena shine!
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