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Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade to give a glimpse ‘Inside Santa’s Workshop’

ROCHESTER — Just like Main Street, the 61st annual Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade is undergoing a few changes this year.

The Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade committee recently announced that the parade, which will begin at 2 p.m. Dec. 2, would not be broadcast live on Local WXYZ Channel 7. Instead, families are encouraged to come out and watch the parade, which has the theme “Inside Santa’s Workshop” this year, live from the newly opened Main Street.

“This is the community’s big showcase of what is happening in our little hometown. It gives all the groups an opportunity to showcase what they are doing in the community,” said Parade Chairman Tim Crawford.

Organizers say approximately 100,000 people come out for the parade each year, setting up chairs and blankets along the route, as early as Sunday morning.

As in years past, the 2012 Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade will roll down Main Street from the corner of Tienken and Rochester roads, beginning at 2 p.m., led by the Rochester Police and Oakland County Sheriff’s departments, grand marshals Ray and Ginny de Steiger, and local officials.

The more-than 100 participating groups — including 30-40 floats, 10-15 marching bands and numerous drill teams, nonprofits, businesses, clowns, fire trucks and marchers — will continue south along Main to West Third. The parade will end with an appearance by Santa Claus.

“We probably have about 3,500 participants in the parade,” Crawford said.

Another change this year is the addition of media sponsor Radio Disney AM 910, who will have their “Road Crew” on-site with music, games, interactive entertainment and prizes during the parade.

Those who can’t make it out the day of the event will still have a chance to see the parade on TV after it’s over, throughout the month of December. Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said the city of Rochester Hills will be on hand to record every memory as the floats, bands and organizations march down Main Street.

“The city of Rochester Hills is honored to step in and provide coverage for the parade,” Barnett said in a statement. “The parade is a long-standing tradition in our community, and we look forward to offering the broadcast on our local cable channel throughout the month of December, as we celebrate the holiday season.”

Before the parade, a Grand Marshal’s Celebration — held 6-9 p.m. Nov. 29 at Great Oaks Country Club — will honor the parade Grand Mashals Ray and Ginny de Steiger and Junior Grand Marshals Sara-Jane Dakroub and Grant Mercer. The event is open to the public and features hors d’ourvers, a cash bar and live entertainment with each $25 ticket. Reservations are required. For additional details or to RSVP for the Grand Marshal’s Celebration, call (248) 651-6700. Reservations can also be made online at www.rrc-mi.com.

For more information about the parade, call (248) 651-6700 or visit www.rrc-mi.com.