Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade to spread holiday cheer this weekend

By: Mary Beth Almond, | Rochester Post | Published December 1, 2015

ROCHESTER — The Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade will make its way through the streets of downtown this weekend, marking the 64th anniversary of what has become a cherished holiday tradition for many.

“You can’t come to the parade and not see people that you know that are going down Main Street,” Parade Chair Tim Crawford said.

Beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, the 2015 Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade will roll down Main Street, from the corner of Tienken and Rochester roads south to Third Street.

This year’s parade will be led by the Rochester Police Department, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and grand marshals Rod and Susan Wilson. The Wilsons were named grand marshals of the 64th annual parade in recognition of their “untiring efforts to preserve the history of the greater Rochester area,” according to parade officials.

For the fourth year, the parade will also host junior grand marshals, who this year are Ramona Johnson and Jacob Walrath, who were selected by the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce for their involvement in community organizations and events.

The theme for this year’s parade is “The Sounds of Christmas,” which organizers say they hope will encourage everyone to bring the music of their favorite holiday songs and carols to Main Street for the day.

The Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade — which is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union this year — is the largest Christmas parade in Michigan, according to event organizers.

Crawford said approximately 100,000 people come out for the parade each year, setting up chairs and blankets along the route as early as Sunday morning to watch the parade’s nearly 3,000 participants.

“We will have just over 100 units in the parade this year,” he said. “This year we have, I think, nine bands, 25-40 different floats done to the theme of the parade, many Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, and different churches and nonprofits.”

Those who would prefer to stay indoors can watch a live stream of the parade, provided by Rochester Hills TV, at rochesterhills.org or at www.youtube.com/rochesterhillstv.

Before the parade, early birds will have the opportunity to meet with Santa 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on the east side of Fourth Street and Rochester Road, with photos sponsored by Tim Crawford Nationwide Insurance Agency Inc., in a warming tent sponsored by Genisys Credit Union.

The community can also enjoy breakfast at the Royal Park Hotel 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. to benefit Cass Community Social Services, a Detroit-based agency dedicated to providing food, housing, health services and job programs. The cost is $40 per adult, $350 for a table of 10, and $15 for children younger than 12. To make a reservation, email cassbreakfast@gmail.com.

Breakfast organizer Sue Thomasson said the event has grown over the last nine years from a gathering of 60 people to close to 270 last year. She hopes to break 300 attendees this year, raising over $20,000 to support Mom’s Place at Cass Community Social Services in Detroit, which provides transitional housing for homeless women and their children, including their teen sons.

“It’s a chance for those of us that are fairly comfortable in the suburbs to help some homeless programs in the city of Detroit,” she said.

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