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Enjoy the parade, remember how it started

When people ask about the influence of a newspaper, we refer them to Alpena Lena.

A mild-mannered woman whose goal in life might be to leave a smile on the face of everyone she meets, Lena is generally shy by nature — that is for the first minute you meet her. Then, she is anything but!

Lena flees from controversy. She’s not one to “rock the boat.” But, when she has an idea, she also doesn’t take “no” for an answer without giving it all she’s got.

Lena loves parades, but Alpena’s holiday parade had always confused her. Why hold it at a time when people were either working or shopping on Black Friday, she wondered. Why not, instead, she reasoned, hold the parade at night, with lighted floats and lots of downtown Christmas lights.

So she wrote a letter to the editor with her idea.

Parade organizers and Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce officials agreed the idea had merit, so they tried it and, well, the rest is history. The result is today’s Bolenz Jewelry Holiday Parade.

We’re probably prejudiced, but, ever since the parade was moved, we believe the region seems to glow even brighter.

Today is our festival of lights.

So bundle up and enjoy the festivities tonight — both the parade and the Christmas tree lighting afterward. Shop downtown and pause over a hot chocolate. Enjoy the simple beauty of the holiday lights all around you.

And as you, do remember, it all started with a letter to the editor.

A simple idea years ago has turned into a big event today that all of us are proud of.

Let your light shine this holiday season.

(THE ALPENA NEWS)