Christmas celebrations starting this weekend
ARENAC COUNTY — As Thanksgiving passes, organizations around Arenac County will begin to celebrate Christmas, starting this weekend with a pair of Santa visits.
Friday, Nov. 29, Santa will be dropping into the Standish Historical Depot at 6:30 p.m.
Standish Area Chamber of Commerce member Jim Whitson said Santa’s visit this year will be a little different. He said most years Santa meets up with children at the Lions Club Park at the corner of Grove Road and Cedar Street, and then leads them through town to the depot, but this year he is going straight to the depot.
“The fire department is going to drop him off right at the depot,” he said.
Children will be able to meet with Santa at the caboose parked outside the depot, and then head inside for cookies and hot chocolate, Whitson said.
While the Lions park will not host Santa this Friday, from Dec. 3-19, every Tuesday and Thursday, Santa will be present at the Santa House at the park from 6-8 p.m. Children will be able to see him there, Whitson said.
In Au Gres, the annual tree lighting and parade will be held Nov. 30, according to Jennifer Czymbor, President of the Au Gres Area Chamber of Commerce.
The tree lighting, which will also include Christmas caroling, begins at 5:45 p.m., on the corner of Michigan Avenue and US-23, Czymbor said.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m.
“It leaves from the Au Gres Inn and ends up at the fire hall, which is on Court Street,” Czymbor said.
Anyone who would like to enter a float in the parade can line up at the Au Gres Inn, Czymbor said.
“They don’t need to register at all,” she said. “They can just come down to the Au Gres Inn. We’re going to line up at 6 p.m.”
After the parade, children can meet with Santa at the fire hall, Czymbor said. Adults will receive tickets upon entering the hall. If their ticket number is drawn later, they can win a holiday ham or bag of mixed nuts, Czymbor said.
Around Turner, people decorating their homes and yards for Christmas will have the chance to win a prize, according to Village President Justine McGraw.
“By Dec. 10, everyone who wants to participate has to have their yard decorated,” she said. “We’ll take pictures, and we’ll post the pictures at the village hall.”
McGraw said Dec. 14, using the photos, people will be able to vote on which residence is the most festive.
“There’s going to be three winners total,” she said. “All of the prizes are various dollar amounts of gift cards to Walmart.”
Voting will run from noon to 6 p.m. at the village hall.
McGraw said the village opted to do a contest rather than have a village tree in hopes that the whole town would look festive leading up to Christmas.
“I feel like people will get more passionate about it when it’s their own home versus putting up a large tree at the hall and having them decorate it,” she said.