ISHPEMING - Snow was falling and temperatures were chilly, but Santa Claus arrived in downtown Ishpeming Friday night on schedule.
Pulled by a team of sled dogs on an ATV, Santa arrived as part of the annual Christmas parade. The event including the lighting of the Ishpeming Christmas tree near the "Old Ish" statue and time for kids to make their holiday requests to the man in red himself.
"As cold as it is, we were thrilled with the turnout," said Charlie Anderson, chair of the Ishpeming Business Association. "It's easy to do this because it's such a tradition. People come out in droves."
Fire trucks, ambulances and floats filled Ishpeming’s Main Street Friday evening for the annual Christmas parade, which kicks off the holiday festivities in town. Despite the cold and snow, a large crowd gathered to see the parade and visit with Santa Claus. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
As part of the annual Christmas parade and official Christmas tree lighting, the Ishpeming Business Association also hosted a competition for tree decorating, with voting at the Butler Theatre Friday evening. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
Santa Claus stands with Ishpeming Mayor Gary Nelson and his two granddaughters, Lexie, 5, and Allie, 2, Hobart, just prior to the lighting of the Ishpeming Christmas tree at Old Ish Park in the downtown area. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
Both sides of Main Street were lined with families and kids watching ambulances, fire trucks and floats go by.
But seeing Santa was the big draw for the kids, who were already making up their lists of things to ask for.
"A remote control snowmobile and fishies (for an aquarium)," said Nolan Aho-Carello, 6, of his wish list.
Following the parade and the tree lighting, kids and their families lined up outside Santa's house to get the chance to talk to him. Because talking to Santa can have a big payoff for kids.
"Getting up in the morning and seeing your tree is full of presents," said Brandon Oglesby, 8, of his favorite part of Christmas. Oglesby said he wanted a Rock-Em, Sock-Em Robots game.
The kids weren't the only ones excited about the parade. The team of sled dogs that pulled Santa into town were raring to go.
"We wanted to do a dogsled thing this year," Anderson said. "They had to keep the brakes on."
Sponsored by the Ishpeming Business Association, the annual parade draws people downtown to kick off the holiday season.
This year, the event included refreshments at the Butler Theater, as well as voting for a tree-decorating contest.
If you missed the Ishpeming parade, Negaunee will be hosting its parade Sunday at 5 p.m. in Breitung Park. Marquette's tree lighting will be held Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. in the Marquette Commons area.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.