August 21, 2019

Santa Claus to make two stops at historical depot


STANDISH — The city of Standish must have been awfully good this year, because Santa Claus will be coming to the historical depot for the Santa Parade on Friday, Nov. 23, and a second time Saturday, Dec. 1, aboard the Lake State Railway Company Santa Train.

Floats, lighted vehicles and parade participants will gather at Lovett Lane, east of the former Standish Elementary building, at 5 p.m. One hour later they will parade their way west on Cedar Street, go up Forest Street and arrive at the depot.

The event is scheduled to run from 6-7 p.m.

In addition to the floats and vehicles in the parade, Santa Claus will be stationed on a fire truck at the end of the line. Once he has arrived at the depot, he will listen to Christmas wishes and be available for pictures.

At the depot, event goers will be offered cookies and other goodies and can enjoy Christmas carols performed by members of the Standish-Sterling Central Choir.

Those who take pictures with Kris Kringle will be able to pick up a free-of-charge 4x6 photo at the Rite Aid on South Main Street, where they will have the option to purchase a larger photo in addition to the complimentary copy.

A majority of the decorations for Standish’s first Santa Parade were purchased through a significant grant provided by the Standish Downtown Development Authority, depot volunteer Wendy Hillman said.

Because the depot is nonprofit entity operated by volunteers, Hillman said donations and support from the DDA, the Standish Chamber of Commerce, the Gateway Destination Placemaking Group and other groups in the community are what make events like this possible.

Depot volunteers are planning on decorating not only the parade route but the depot itself, Hillman said, adding that the lights will be coordinated to turn on once St. Nicholas arrives.

“When you come into town, whether you come in from the south, north, east or west, the depot is the showcase of the town,” Hillman said. “When it’s going to be all lit up at night, it’s going to show in a sense some big pride going on in our town.”

While this is the inaugural year for the Santa Parade, depot volunteer Dennis Whitney said last year’s light display received several positive comments from Standish residents.

Positive feedback and the desire to instill pride in the community were some of the motivating factors to hold an event like this.

“I believe it’s going to show the town that we have a pride in this town,” Whitney said. “Last year by putting these lights up, there was so much talk and people were so happy to see what happened. There was such a pride in this town.”

As a safety precaution, Hillman said those participating should bring a flashlight and should refrain from throwing out candy to avoid children going into the street in the evening.

Santa Claus will be coming to Standish for the second time this year as he makes his way across Michigan aboard the Lake State Railway Company Santa Train Dec. 1, from 8:30-10:30 a.m.

The Santa Train will be making several stops on its trek through the state, but its first will be at the Standish Historical Depot where Santa, Mrs. Claus and some Disney characters will pose for pictures and discuss Christmas wishes with the area’s children free of charge.

Children in attendance will receive a goodie bag from Santa and will be able to go inside the depot for doughnuts and apple cider.

Depot Coordinator Brenda Matt said she was glad the depot could provide a free family event that highlights the facility and gives people an opportunity to admire the train.

“People love trains and kids love trains and this will be a beautiful train,” Matt said. “A lot of people around here don’t have a lot of money to travel or do a lot of extra things, where we can provide that for these kids. Thank heavens for our sponsors.”

Matt said event goers should be sure to enter through the depot and not approach the Santa Train via the train tracks.

Also due to Santa’s tight schedule, the train will leave promptly at 10:30 a.m., Matt said.

For more information regarding either the Santa Parade or Train, call the historical depot at 989-718-3012.


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