In 2020, the inaugural Holiday Lights on Wheels Parade shined its way across Roseville before Christmas. This year’s parade is set for Dec. 11.

In 2020, the inaugural Holiday Lights on Wheels Parade shined its way across Roseville before Christmas. This year’s parade is set for Dec. 11.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Eastpointe, Roseville plan drive-thru holiday events, parade of lighted vehicles

By: Brian Louwers | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 8, 2021


EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — Santa Claus is coming to town!

It might look a little bit different this year, but officials in the cities of Eastpointe and Roseville are inviting residents of their cities to “drive-thru” holiday events at their respective city halls this month. For those who’d rather stay home, a parade of vehicles decorated in holiday lights will once again be making its way through Roseville neighborhoods.


Last month, Eastpointe City Council members discussed setting a date for a holiday celebration and approved the establishment of a subcommittee to put one together. As part of the discussion, council members and Mayor Monique Owens weighed safety concerns with the ongoing pandemic against a desire to keep the tradition of a holiday celebration alive in the city.

“I just wouldn’t be comfortable doing anything indoors,” Councilman Cardi DeMonaco said. If a traditional tree-lighting at City Hall is not an option, he indicated he would be supportive of alternative ideas, including a drive-thru event, if that’s what the subcommittee recommended.

Owens and Eastpointe City Councilman Harvey Curley volunteered to sit on the subcommittee that put together the drive-thru concept. Assistant City Manager Mariah Walton, Deputy Fire Chief Nick Sage, Fire Marshal Brian Marquardt, Deputy Police Chief Matt Merlo, police officer Joe Geloso, Department of Public Works Director Darin Paolucci, DPW Supervisor Greg Modelski, Public Information Officer Ra’Shell Funchess, and Recreation Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe Director Tony Lipinski also sat on the subcommittee.

“I think the tree-lighting is good. I think we just have to be very creative in how we’re going to do it,” Owens said at the November meeting.

Eastpointe’s holiday celebration will run from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 16 behind City Hall at 23200 Gratiot Ave. Planned festivities include Christmas lights, candy and craft bags provided by RARE and the Eastpointe Lions, carolers, and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus. At the end of the drive-thru event, children are invited to drop letters to Santa in a collection box.

Those planning to attend in their vehicles will turn onto Evergreen Avenue, north of City Hall, from Gratiot and make a right turn on Hofer Street. They’ll then continue south on Hofer and onto Aurora Avenue before entering the City Hall parking lot through the east driveway. They’ll then exit the lot through the west driveway and make a right turn on Aurora to northbound Gratiot.


In Roseville, “Santa’s Drive-Thru Spectacular” will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 9 at City Hall, 29777 Gratiot Ave. The event will feature four areas for families to enjoy from their own vehicles. Santa will be there to greet those in attendance at the end of the circuit.

According to the event listing on the city of Roseville’s website, “Safety precautions will be in place, and visitors are required to remain in their vehicles at all times — no exceptions will be made.”

Letters to Santa can be dropped in a mailbox along the route.

Holiday gatherers will turn right on Florida Street from Gratiot, just south of City Hall and the 39th District Court, and will be directed to turn right again into the parking lot of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, where they’ll be greeted with inflatable decorations and possibly a band. The route will then take them around the church complex and into the City Hall lot, where there will be more decorations, music and holiday-themed backdrops. Everyone will then go west along VFW Memorial Drive, north of City Hall, where treats will be handed out before the exit onto Kelly Road.

The information and a map of the route is available on the city of Roseville’s website at

On Dec. 11, Roseville residents will also be treated to the second annual Holiday Lights on Wheels Parade. The details were announced last month on the Roseville Neighborhood Watch Group’s Facebook page

In the post, Matt Belz, one of the administrators of the Roseville Neighborhood Watch Group, said the parade is free to join for anyone willing to decorate their vehicle and spread holiday cheer by honking and waving at watchers along the way.

Belz told the Eastsider that the group saw the success of a similar parade in St. Clair Shores in 2020 and moved to bring an event to the residents of Roseville.

“COVID was so depressing because people were staying inside. We get that. We saw the success of the St. Clair Shores version of this parade. Our parade came about two weeks after,” Belz said. “I put it together with Roseville PD and the Neighborhood Watch. It was a great success last year. We got a lot of positive feedback. It’s just kind of a way to get everyone smiling and outside. Everyone loves Christmas lights. It makes people smile. If we can bring lights to the people, that’s the way to do it.”

Parade participants will gather for staging in the north lot of Roseville High School, 17855 Common Road, off Normal Street between Common and Frank Street, at 4:30 p.m. Participants are asked to enter the lot through the south entrance. Anyone planning to attend with a group of more than one vehicle has been asked to enter the lot together to ensure staging together.

Plans call for the parade to start rolling at 5:15 p.m. The Roseville Police Department will provide a police escort to ensure everyone’s safety. The use of hazard lights is requested to ensure extra visibility. Roseville’s Fire Department is also assisting with the parade and will have rigs in the procession.

A full outline of the parade route and the event information posted on Nov. 15 can be found at