A tradition to remember

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published December 14, 2012

 City Hall glowed with holiday lights after the switch was thrown Dec. 7.

City Hall glowed with holiday lights after the switch was thrown Dec. 7.

Photo by David Schreiber

Despite weather that was more naughty than nice, hundreds turned out to welcome holiday lights and Santa Claus to St. Clair Shores.

With a program that included Little Miss St. Clair Shores and Miss Teen St. Clair Shores, the reigning Miss Michigan, reindeer and a sing-along, residents of the city and neighboring communities came together to make the most of the annual event at City Hall Dec. 7.

“The kids smile, the kids are happy, that’s what it’s all about,” said Dave Martin of the Optimist Club of St. Clair Shores, which partnered with Lakeview High School’s Junior Optimist Octagon Club, Huskies with Heart, to provide doughnuts and hot cocoa for the event. “It just lights everybody up. It’s great.”

Katie Aune of Roseville said she came with her children, who attend Lakeview Public Schools, for the first time this year. Visiting with the two live reindeer milling around an enclosure outside City Hall was a highlight, she said.

“They’re very cool. They’re very gentle,” she said.

She said the event was “great” and “really festive,” and that she would definitely return next year.

It was Ed Irvine’s second year bringing his family to the Tree Lighting Ceremony.

“It’s a big attraction for the kids,” the St. Clair Shores man said of the reindeer and the rest of the festivities. “It’s very nice (with) stuff for the kids to do. It’s close to home and it’s quick.”

Mayor Kip Walby said the tree lighting was a great tradition for the city to continue. This year, City Hall and the surrounding municipal grounds sparkled even more with help from the Beautification Commission, the Parks and Recreation Department and the donation of new angels keeping guard outside the entrances to City Hall.

“It’s been really a team effort,” Walby said. “They got involved and just wanted to try to get some more lights and changed it up a bit. 

Walby said the angels had been previously used on a private property, but that owner donated them to the city.

“It was kind of like the icing on the cake,” Walby said.

“I always come,” said 13-year-old Taylor Dietz of St. Clair Shores, as she danced and sang to Christmas carols before Santa’s arrival. “I just like the spirit of Christmas. It’s so much fun.

“I like the music and when the tree first lights up.”

Her friend, 13-year-old Paige Redlin, chimed in: “Santa — hands down — best part.”

The big man in the red suit arrived on a St. Clair Shores fire truck with lights and sirens blaring down Jefferson Avenue. He and Mrs. Claus took the stage amid cheers from the crowd to accept the key to the hearts of the children of St. Clair Shores from Walby. Then they helped throw the big switch to light up the grounds, to the wonder of the crowd.

The Beautification Commission also expanded the amount of lights used to decorate City Hall, the Library, and the grounds of the 40th District Court and the Police Department. They even added garland and other greenery to the decorative lamp posts in the vicinity.

“They really wanted to push it up a notch. They just wanted to make the City Hall look really nice,” Walby said. “It just turned out great.”