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Everyone loves a parade!

November 27, 2010 - Diane Speer
As a member of the local news media, one of the fun "perks" I look forward to each year is getting to judge the Bolenz-Lafarge Holiday Parade. The weather definitely seemed frostier this year than in parades past, and I and my fellow judges, Susi Martin from WATZ and Mary Thurston from 107.7 the Bay, could barely move our fingers to write and keep score as each entry sailed past our perch in front of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce building. Low temps and a bitter wind may have kept a few spectactors away this year, but those who turned out got to see some impressive entries, including the top winners in both the commercial and non-commerical categories. It's probably safe to assume the folks at Home Depot know how to build stuff, and they certainly proved it with a ferris wheel that actually worked, combined with colorful lights. While there were several other eye-catching entries in the commercial category, when the judges combined their scores at the end, Home Depot was at the very top. In the non-commerical category, the Alpena County Horsemen's Club went all out with their entry that included lots of their four-footed friends and other interesting details.

In just about every instance, only a point or two separated the first through fifth places in the non-commercial category and the first through third places in the commercial category. As judges, we three agreed that we would love to give just about everybody a prize. Participation is key to the success of the parade. It takes a lot of work and effort to come up with some of the floats that make the event such an Alpena fixture. Congratulations to everyone - from the tuneful AHS Marching Band to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary's outstanding boat entry to the arrival of Santa Claus - for starting the holiday season out in such a memorable way!


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