It may not have been Thanksgiving Day morning in New York City, but the same parade-inspired excitement was in the air in Alpena on Friday as the 2008 Bolenz-Lafarge Holiday Parade rolled through downtown.
People drifted in and out of downtown shops, and vendors sold coffee on the sidewalk as trucks pulling lighted floats drove down Chisholm Street and Second Avenue. Parade participants handed candy from bags and buckets to kids in the attendance, who were waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus.
Mary Benson was in town visiting relatives and decided to bring her family to the parade.
News Photo by Lori Werth
The streets were lined with people enjoying the Bolenz-Lafarge Holiday Parade Friday in Alpena. It was the fourth year the parade was held at night. The evening also included the lighting of the Christmas tree in Culligan Plaza. A Christmas Open House takes place today and Sunday in downtown Alpena stores with special activities and refreshments. There will be horse-drawn wagon rides from 1-3 p.m. today and Sunday at Culligan Plaza.
"It's just kind of a family holiday tradition," Benson said.
Her young daughter Kendall was excited for the candy, but had a bigger goal in her mind.
"We're going to see Santa," she said.
1. Wings Over Alpena/Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center
2. Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary
3. Alpena FFA
4. Alpena Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and Everett Goodrich Trucking and Paving
5. Northern Lights Arena
1. First Federal of Northern Michigan/InsuranCenter
2. Besser Credit Union
3. Lafarge North America
Ben Granlund said his family comes to the parade every chance they get, and he enjoys spending it with his children and grandchildren.
"The grand kids are here to see Santa Claus," Granlund said.
For the young ones patient enough, and still awake, they had that chance, as Santa rode on the final float of the hour-long parade.
Jamie Hutchinson said she brings her kids to the parade each year because they enjoy it.
"The candy is number one," Hutchinson said. "And they like the floats, especially the blowups."
A particular blowup of an elf had a tough time maneuvering down Second Avenue, as its arms were too wide and were getting caught in trees on the sidewalk. Those handling the float forced the elf into a limbo motion until there was more room.
This was the fourth year the parade had been held at night. In the past it was held the morning after Thanksgiving. Alpena Central Dispatch said there were no problems during or after the parade.
Sean Harkins can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5688.