Holiday fun coming to downtown Royal Oak with new ‘Spectacular’ event

By: Mike Koury | Royal Oak Review | Published December 12, 2017

 The inaugural Royal Oak Holiday Spectacular will take place Saturday, Dec. 16, in the downtown. It replaces the Holiday Magic Parade, seen here from the 2016 edition. Santa will be available for visits at the new event.

The inaugural Royal Oak Holiday Spectacular will take place Saturday, Dec. 16, in the downtown. It replaces the Holiday Magic Parade, seen here from the 2016 edition. Santa will be available for visits at the new event.

File photo by Donna Agusti

ROYAL OAK — Downtown Royal Oak will be celebrating the holidays a little differently this year, with a “Spectacular” taking over the streets.

The inaugural Royal Oak Holiday Spectacular will be held from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at the intersection of Washington and Fifth avenues.

The event will feature free pictures with Santa Claus from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., carriage rides from 6 to 9 p.m. and a lighting ceremony with a 40-foot tree beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Spectacular replaces the previously held Holiday Magic Parade as the city’s holiday event.

Thrown by Real Detroit Events, Ultimate Fun Productions and The Social Connection, the event also will feature a Ferris wheel, live music, a holiday game zone, special vendors and extended hours for shopping at local retailers.

John Badanjek, a co-producer of the Spectacular with Real Detroit Events, said he’s excited to be throwing the first-time event in Royal Oak, which he’s sure the city hopes to host for years to come.

“It will be extremely exciting as the inaugural event, when you have live music, lots of bands performing holiday favorites and things along those lines on the stage, but I do think this event will grow to become a holiday tradition for metro Detroiters,” he said.

Badanjek said he encourages people to make dinner reservations prior to or after the tree lighting, because he feels it is going to be a pretty exciting night in downtown Royal Oak, and that bars and restaurants are geared up for the evening.

“I think they’re pretty excited about having a four-story tree to light in Royal Oak for the first time,” he said.

Downtown Manager Sean Kammer said there’s been a lot of interest surrounding the event because it’s new.

“It’s very clearly an anticipated event by the community. We were frequently contacted by residents before the details came out about what we were going to have to replace the parade,” he said.

One of the things Kammer said the city really wanted this new event to have was the tree lighting ceremony, something that could bring a lot of “focus” to the Holiday Spectacular.

“(The city) felt that a tree lighting would have that element of being a central focus to it to bring the community together. It’s something that you can design a lot of the things around,” he said.

Kammer himself is looking forward to the carriage rides, as it was something he saw other communities doing.

“I understand that it’s a really popular element at holiday events, and I’m really glad to see Royal Oak is also including that in the downtown, because I’d like to see how popular it is down here,” he said.

More information on the event can be found at www.royaloakholidayspectacular.com.