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Holiday cheer comes to Alpena

News Photo by Julie Riddle Draped in lights, children wait for one of the best parts of parades — the candy.
News Photo by Julie Riddle Aboard the snow train, bundled cuties and cheerful adults wave to the crowds lining the sidewalks at the Thanksgiving parade.
News Photo by Julie Riddle A sweet elf jingles Christmas bells aboard her float at the annual Thanksgiving parade Friday evening.

Family groups smushed together for selfies and wagging dogs nosed small children, making them giggle, as Alpena waited for the Thanksgiving Parade to begin. The music was the first to arrive, and with a burst of trumpets and crash of cymbals, the Alpena High School Band marched a path through the crowd under the upbeat strains of “Joy to the World.” Eyes glowing, mittened hands pounding for warmth, blockfulls of cheerful holidaygoers clapped for the floats, dove after candy, and waited for the guest of honor to appear. (“That’s not Santa,” a bystander said, evaluating one float carrying a man in a red hat and suit. “I know Santa, and that ain’t him.”) At last, trailing a wake of bubbles, an oversized sleigh brought the 2019 parade to a close, cheers and shouts of “Santa!!!” warming the night air. Afterward, gathered in a joyous family group, the community encircled the Culligan Plaza Christmas tree, waiting with dancing feet until, at last, the tree blazed into multicolored glory.