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WITH VIDEO: Annual Alpena holiday parade makes a remarkable comeback

News Photo by Barbara Woodham Families gather around the newly lit Alpena Christmas tree Friday at Culligan Plaza.

ALPENA — The frigid temperatures did not deter the crowd of hundreds from lining the streets along Chisholm and 2nd Avenue Friday in Downtown Alpena where the Bolenz Jewelry Holiday Parade was back in full force.

After having no choice but to cancel the town’s tradition last year because of the pandemic, the Alpena Chamber of Commerce and the citizens of Alpena were more than ready to get out and celebrate the spirit of the holidays once again.

The little bit of snow on the ground was a great finishing touch and only added to the joyous, festive atmosphere as children were throwing snowballs and sliding on the ice.

Check out the video below. Viewing on mobile? Turn your device horizontally for the best viewing experience. Story continues below the video.

The crowd was a mixture of all ages from grandparents to bundled up little babies. There was everything from strollers and wagons to walkers and wheelchairs.

Santa makes a heart with his hands for the children as he passes by.

The streets were packed and buzzing with good cheer and brotherly love. Parade-goers were singing together as Christmas songs were playing out of storefronts.

There were floats, music, dancing and lots of hot chocolate.

The crowd was on the edge of the curb, catching candy and anticipating the arrival of Santa. As the crowd awaited Santa’s arrival, excitement hung in the air and children jumped up and down to stay warm.

Benjamin, Nicholas and Joseph Novara were there with their family and said that it is never too cold for a chance to see Santa.

The Schroeder family from Grand Rapids made the drive over after hearing what a great show that Alpena puts on every year for this occasion.

News Photo by Barbara Woodham Children admire a light covered horse during the parade.

As everyone enjoyed the many beautiful floats, and the horses, and the bands that passed by, the demand for Santa continued.

“This is my second biggest day of the year,” Santa said, when he finally arrived.

Aaron Buza, who owns Downtown Scoops, agreed with Santa as his store became packed with happy, smiling faces, taking a few minutes to warm up.

“This is my busiest night of the quarter,” Buza said.

The Christmas tree in the fountain at Culligan Plaza was donated by Frank Detloff of Alpena.

News Photo by Barbara Woodham Four-year-old Reynaldo Bumbolo plays at the foot of the tree.

The tree was lit by members of the family of Alpena Lena, who wrote to The News years ago and suggested, in a letter to the editor, that the community switch the parade from Friday afternoon. Parade organizers and Chamber officials agreed the idea had merit, tried it and the parade has been a nighttime event ever since.

Lena passed away this year and her family lit the tree in honor of her memory, her love for Alpena and the town parade.

Four-year-old Reynaldo Bumbolo played with some other children around the tree while his family waited for the lighting.

“I’m waiting for Santa,” Bumbolo said.

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