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Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

December 2, 2008 - Bill Speer
As a youth growing up just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., the highlight of every Christmas season was a trip downtown. At the time a number of large department stores could be found downtown and each out-did the other with their holiday window displays.

I can remember standing and watching for what seemed like hours the animated elves hard at work at Santa's workshop or the polar bears that twirled around a candy cane with reindeer at the North Pole. My family always timed our visit so it would be late afternoon and as twilight set in the Christmas lights downtown would light and the city seemed even more dazzling to me.

I'm sure youth today would scoff at what seemed so magical to me at the time. Yet for our familiy it wasn't Christmas unless a trip had been made downtown to see the displays and the lights.

I was reminded of those days Friday while watching Alpena's evening Christmas parade. It is impossible to watch that parade and not catch the Christmas spirit afterward. The quality of the floats would rival any large city's parade and even Neiman's inflatable elf wobbling through the downtown shaking the Christmas lights of downtown trees made the parade seem "big city."

After events that evening restaurants were full as families warmed up and enjoyed a meal out. The down was decked out in all her glory that night but even now, any evening, there is a certain magic that exists downtown. Certainly it is worth stopping by and depending on the evening you might even have a chance to visit with Santa.

The evening holiday parade all started from a letter to the editor by Alpena resident Lena Witt years ago. As far as I'm concerned, it was one of the best ideas ever suggested for the region.

 
 

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