Art Van Santa Claus Parade
A tradition that dates back over 100 years, the Grand Rapids Jaycees Santa Parade has something for everyone. It serves as the official kick off to the holiday season in our fair city, and it is the first official appearance by Santa Claus in for the Christmas season. For the second consecutive year this event was sponsored by Art Van Furniture. Hundreds of kids brought their moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to downtown Grand Rapids, and each one of them were there for one reason: to catch a glimpse of the man of the hour, jolly old Saint Nick.
No matter how old you are, this parade makes you feel like a kid all over again. Festively decorated floats from West Michigan organizations, and dozens of local celebrities made their way down the parade route. Everyone from Mayor George Heartwell to Miss Michigan to Clifford the Big Red Dog was excited to start celebrating the magic of the holidays. Christmas carols were being sung by some who were riding on floats and being played by high school marching bands. The occasional siren was heard from fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars that passed by kids who waved back to our local heroes. Local arts organizations including the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, Broadway Grand Rapids, and several gymnastics teams performed along the way. And of course there was plenty of candy.
At around 10:30 a.m., cheers erupted as everyone saw the man in red steer his sleigh down Ottawa Avenue. As Santa Claus passed by and waved to the crowd, you couldn’t help but be awestruck by the twinkle in his eye. The holiday season has officially begun, Grand Rapids…may yours be merry and bright!
— Danielle Josephine DeWitt, contributing writer