Santa’s Unusual Entrance Wows Crowd at Holly’s Lighted Parade
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Dec. 2, 2019)
Holly, MI – When the light-trimmed fire engine stopped in front of the historic fire station that now houses the Holly Township offices, thousands stared upwards, hushed in amazement as the ladder and bucket – with Santa and Mrs. Claus inside – rose up into the air, and stretched out over the heads of the people in the crowd.
The jolly couple waved as the sea of people parted and the ladder was lowered towards the stage. Children and adults cheered as they stepped off and made their way to the stage, while swarms of people who had watched the lighted parade gathered closer to the stage, but still filling both Saginaw street and Battle Alley.
Not only was Santa’s entrance grand, the Village found their grandest pine tree ever – stretching over 30 feet into the air, towering above the two story shops of the historic downtown.
The parade was a chance for businesses and groups to decorate vehicles, floats, and people with lights. Several people walked in large boxes wrapped like presents. Police and fire added to the lights their vehicles already had, with police hauling a large inflatable police dog on the roof (the woof) of a squad car. The Holly Bronchoes Marching Band played instruments wrapped in lights, while characters from the Holly Dickens Festival reminded the spectators of the festival which runs the three weekends following Thanksgiving.
Santa and Mrs. Claus were joined on stage by the folks being honored with community awards, hosted by the Holly Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Senton Family was named Family of the Year. Bill, Michelle, Alec, Calvin, and Liam joined Holly Chamber of Commerce Director Richard Kinnamon on stage. They were nominated because at the age of six and seven Liam has made it a passion to help feed kids who are hungry. When he learned about the Blessings in a Backpack Program, the boy “ran into his room, and came out with a mask and cape shouting ‘I am the Super Can Man, let’s can hunger!” Since then Liam and his family have raised $5,538 for food and collected over 2,500 pounds of food over the past three years.
Liam’s older brother was freshly back home that evening, having been away on active duty as a Marine for the past three years. All three boys were active in theater and band, with Alec playing trumpet, Calvin playing saxophone, and Liam playing drums.
Dad Bill volunteers with Boy Scouts and Mom Michelle works as a substitute teacher who uses the money she earns for charity.
Jerome Raska was honored as Individual of the Year. He was joined on stage by his partner Robbin Yelverton. The couple has been coming to Holly for years and in the past few years begun investing in the downtown.
They opened their third Blumz by JRDesigns in Holly (with stores in Detroit and Ferndale), as well as buying Holly Antiques and Creative Fashions. They have been active community members, including helping with fundraising for the Dicken’s Festival. They introduced Drag Queen BINGO to Holly, and also helped beautiful many local events.
“Jerome is the boisterous, and funny man that is always out front,” Kinnamon said. “but we would not be able to accomplish all that he does without his partner in business and in life.”
The Holly Kiwanis Club earned the honor of Organization of the Year. The award was accepted by Treasurer Gordy Dryer on behalf of the organization, who practiced his paperboy smile on stage as Kinnamon announced that that next weekend is the Goodfellow Paper annual sale which benefits the group. Papers will be sold by volunteers at the corner of Maple and Saginaw Street.
“The Kiwanis is about community service, particularly in regard to children and needy citizens of our community,” Kinnamon said. “The Kiwanis are able to offer Holly High School scholarships and a large distribution of Christmas baskets. They also provide assistance with heating and rent, medical expenses, and other community-based projects.”
Holly Vault owners Cari Cucksey and her husband Vince Iafano were honored with Business of the Year. Cucksey had a store in Northville that she moved to Holly in 2015. The store, RePurpose went along with Cucksey’s TV series on HGTV of the same name.
After hearing from so many customers in search of a beautiful wedding venue, Cucksey repurposed the space into The Vault, a space for weddings and events. The couple has also bought and improved several properties, including an old school they are working to remodel, as well as the former Davisburg Bread space that they are in the process of transitioning into another business. By the end of this month they will have hosted 80 weddings this year!
The awardees joined Santa and the crowd in counting down to the lighting of the tree. The event not only welcomed in the holiday season, but also marked the beginning of the Dicken’s Festival which takes place weekend through Dec. 15.