KALAMAZOO, MI – After a year-long hiatus caused by a pandemic, the Maple Hill Kalamazoo Holiday Parade will return to the streets of downtown Kalamazoo on Saturday, November 20.
âThe local downtown businesses are getting decorated, the lights are on and you really start to feel like you’re picking up the pace after a pretty tough year for Kalamazoo,â said Abby Vandenberg, family business Maple Hill. Auto. Group sponsoring the annual parade for the 23rd time.
âWe hope this will be a great way to celebrate safely and outdoors, but still bringing some joy back to Kalamazoo that we felt we missed last year,â she said. âWe couldn’t be more excited. We are very happy that there has been such incredible participation from local businesses, participants and community volunteers.
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Vandenberg said nearly 100 participants are registered for the parade, which puts it on par with previous years.
And for the first time in nearly a decade, helium balloons will fly over the streets of Kalamazoo as a Western Michigan University marching band and cheerleaders, along with eight local high school marching bands, many businesses and community organizations and the Kalamazoo Public Safety Honor The Guard joins in the fun with the characters of Paw Patrol and Frozen, Santa and Mrs. Claus and more.
Santa and Ms. Claus will also headline post-parade events as they travel to Anna Whitten Hall at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) at 202 N. Rose St. at 1 p.m. for a meet and greet. photo ops with the children.
Masks are required inside the lobby and adjacent building of the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, which will provide take-home craft opportunities for families and children.
In addition to the meeting with the clauses from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at KVCC, other post-parade events will also take place across town on Saturday afternoon from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. including lunch and tasting specialties many downtown restaurants and an Elf on a Shelf bingo game that will take families to up to 15 area businesses to find the hidden elf and receive a stamp on their bingo card.
Bingo cards, with instructions, will be distributed along the parade route and can be picked up from kiosks along the Kalamazoo Mall during the day. The winning cards will be entered into a draw and three winners will be chosen and receive gift packages from 15 participating downtown businesses.
And while bingo cards will be handed out during the parade, volunteers will also collect canned goods and cash donations for Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes Food along the route, Vandenberg said.
âWe will accept food donations, but monetary donations go much further as Loaves and Fishes has a lot of pre-negotiated prices with companies that deliver pre-prepared meals and other suppliers,â she said. , stating that a donation of $ 1 can feed three people one meal. “If everyone brings $ 1, we’re expecting 30,000 people so it’s $ 30,000 that can pay for 90,000 meals.”
The 90-minute parade will depart at 11 a.m. at the corner of East Lovell and Portage streets, head west on East Lovell, turn north on South Park Street, then head east on East Michigan Avenue before turning south on South Pitcher Street and back to where it started.
The roads along the parade route will close at 10:30 a.m. and the assembly area, on Portage Street, extending from South Pitcher Street to South Street, on Jasper Street between East Walnut and Lovell Streets, and on East Lovell Street between Jasper and Portage Streets, will be barricaded at 9 a.m.
People wishing to park in the city center should plan to arrive as early as 8:30 a.m. and no later than 10:30 a.m. taking into account road closures, Vandenberg said. Recommended parking is at the Kalamazoo Shopping Center parking ramp on Portage Road as well as the Epic Center parking ramp on West Lovell Street.
For more information on the November 20 parade and the festivities that followed, visit www.kalamazooholidayparade.org. For those who cannot attend, the parade will be broadcast live on Public Media Network.
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