ISHPEMING - Sirens roaring, lights ablaze, fire trucks from the Ishpeming and Ishpeming Township fire departments plus an ambulance from Bell Hospital lit up Main Street Friday night in Ishpeming for the annual Christmas Parade.
The parade this year honored the area's firefighters for their work during the Black River Falls Fire in May.
"It's thanking the firefighters for their efforts this past year," said parade organizer Cheryl Kellow. "They're sometimes taken for granted how much work and their lives that they're putting at stake."
This year’s Ishpeming Christmas Parade honored firefighters from the Ishpeming and Ishpeming Township fire departments for their work during the Black River Falls Fire in May. Here Cub Scout Pack 321 marches in the parade to show their support of the firefighters. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
The annual Christmas Parade in Ishpeming is a chance for families and kids to come out and visit with Santa. Here Ishpeming city councilman Pat Scanlon waits in line with granddaughter Lily Kari, 2. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
Ishpeming Mayor Gary Nelson, center with hat, caught a ride on one of the Christmas Parade floats before helping Santa to light the city’s Christmas tree. The parade is sponsored each year by the Ishpeming Business Association. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
The parade is sponsored by the Ishpeming Business Association each year.
Families with young kids filled Main Street for a chance to watch the parade, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and watch the city's tree lighting.
"Look at the crowd," Kellow said. "It's been terrific every year and building more and more."
For some families, coming to the parade is a yearly tradition that goes back to the childhood of the parents.
"We've been coming probably our whole lives. He and I are both from Ishpeming," said Tara Parsley, who now lives in Marquette with husband Mike and daughters Caitlyn, 7, and Emily, 5.
"We like seeing Santa," Caitlyn said.
Other families were attending the parade for the first time.
"This will be our first year," said Casie Lucas. "My daughter's a Girl Scout and she's going to be in the parade."
Parade floats included local Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts as well as local businesses.
Clear skies and not-quite-freezing temperatures encouraged the families to come to the parade and stick around to see Santa and Mrs. Claus afterward.
The parade helps kick off the downtown area holiday season which includes sleigh rides and regular visits from Santa scheduled in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
"It's the beginning of Christmas," Lucas said.