Nine-Mack merchants to light up the holidays

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published November 12, 2013

ST. CLAIR SHORES — New holiday festivities will come to St. Clair Shores’ “downtown” area when the Nine-Mack Merchants Association presents Light Up the Night Nov. 21.

This is the first time the business district, on Mack Avenue at Nine Mile Road, will host a tree-lighting ceremony, and Karen Palazzolo, owner of Caffé Far Bella, said they wanted to turn it into a big event.

Light Up the Night will take place from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 21, and Mack Avenue will be closed between Nine Mack Drive and Nine Mile Road for the occasion. A tree donated by ACO Hardware will be set up in front of David Gilboe and Associates, where it will be lit at 7:30 p.m. during a sing-along with the South Lake Middle School choir.

“Everybody … in the Nine-Mack area are just jumping on board and are so excited,” Palazzolo said.

The South Lake Marching Band will kick off the festivities, to be followed at 7 p.m. by holiday dancers from Casali School of Dance. Other entertainment will include selections from “White Christmas” performed by the Grosse Pointe Players and performances from Mary Ellen Studio of Dance. Seasonal treats offered will include roasted chestnuts, kettle corn and coffee, and other food and refreshments will be available for purchase, including hot dogs from T-Bones Steak and Seafood, and cider and doughnuts sold by the South Lake High School Band Boosters. 

The event will give back to several charities, as well.

“The merchants are so giving and work so well with each other (that) we decided to incorporate charities,” Palazzolo said.

Many of the businesses will have dolls purchased from the Goodfellows on display. There will be Toys for Tots collections at McDonald’s, David Gilboe and Associates, and Mary Ellen Studio of Dance; and at Connie’s Children’s Shop, they will be collecting hats, socks, gloves and scarves on a “warming tree” to benefit local families.

Members of the St. Clair Shores Senior Activity Center will be selling apple blossoms with caramel; the center will also send its shuttles down to help take patrons to the event from the surrounding areas.

Roy O’Brien Ford will sponsor “Fill-a-Ford,” collecting cans and nonperishable food items for the Macomb County Food Bank, and all participating businesses — as noted by a blue snowflake in their window display — are selling luminaries from now until the event for $1. The luminaries will be personalized with a name in memory of someone touched by cancer or in honor of a cancer survivor and, with the names inscribed on them, will line the streets during the event. Proceeds from their sale will go to The Lake House.

“We’re a very close community, and we share,” Palazzolo said. “We want to show our community off during the holidays to bring in business (and) to show what we have, just an awareness of our area.”

Anna Casali, owner of Casali School of Dance, said the association’s goal has always been to have events that bring the community together. By kicking off the holiday season in this way, she said, it pulls the entire neighborhood and community together.

Light Up the Night, Casali said, will start “the season off right — remind people to stay in the area.”

She said they’re happy to be including South Lake Schools in the event, as well, because the Nine-Mack Merchants Association thinks of them as their neighbors, too.

“We want to embrace them,” she said.

Light Up the Night will be held from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 21 on Mack Avenue between Nine Mack Drive and Nine Mile Road.