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Holiday parade, tree lighting a great family event

With nearly 50 inches of snowfall for the season so far, we’ve already got the “white Christmas” part checked off in spades. After a visit from our favorite North Pole resident on Friday, our holiday spirit should be firing on all cylinders.

The ninth annual Marquette Winter Snow Fun Holiday Parade will be held downtown Marquette Friday night, followed by the 45th annual lighting of the city tree and visits with old St. Nick himself at the Marquette Commons.

With Santa Claus and around 20 “festive holiday floats” spreading cheer downtown during the event, the “Winter Snow Fun Holiday Parade is a great way to kick off the holiday season,” said Tara Laase-McKinney, promotions and events coordinator for the Marquette Downtown Development Authority.

The parade starts at 6 p.m. Friday at the corner of North Third Street and Fair Avenue and ends at the Marquette Commons at 112 S. Third St., where the city tree lighting will take place at 7 p.m., organizers said.

For the parade, area residents are encouraged to “bundle up with friends and family as illuminated floats, tinsel-strewn trucks and colorful carolers transform Third Street into a magical scene from the North Pole,” according to the MDDA.

Parade attendees will also have a chance to get their letters out to Santa, as staff from the Marquette post office will lend a “helping hand to Santa’s elves by collecting children’s letters to Santa along the holiday parade route,” organizers said.

For those looking for the perfect parade viewing spot, Laase-McKinney has a tip: “Spectators can set up anywhere along North Third Street, but one of the best places to view the parade is on Third between Bluff and Main streets. This is just before the parade floats get to the Commons and the end of the parade, and it’s easy to see the floats as they make their way down the hill.”

After the parade, “spectators are welcomed to the Marquette Commons where Santa Claus and friends will light up” downtown at the tree lighting, according to the MDDA. Festivities will include a performance by the Marquette Senior High School Redmen Chorale, pony rides and photos with Santa Claus.

This family-friendly event is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. Just make sure your letters to Santa are legible — after all, he will have to check it twice!