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Clinton Township Parks and Recreation mixing up options for holidays

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published November 20, 2020

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — In light of the times, Clinton Township Parks and Recreation continues to try to offer the community events that are both fun and safe.

Parks and Recreation Director Brian Kay said Nov. 10, prior to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s imposed three-week restrictions, that his department was modifying and planning for lighter crowds.

“These are unique items we feel will be good options for families. … It’s kind of like a hybrid experience,” he said.

One such event is “The Santa Experience: Live from the North Pole.” The event will offer attendees a live feed into Santa’s workshop, allowing children to have an interactive experience. Parents are encouraged to take photos of kids.

At press time, it was scheduled to take place from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. between Dec. 1 and Dec. 4, at the Steiner Community Building, 24001 Henry B. Joy Boulevard in Clinton Township.

Check-in times will take place every 15 minutes, with no more than four families per time slot. Officials anticipate about 175 families taking part over the four-day period.

“We’re hoping four families every 15 minutes will be a good breakdown,” said Emily Minna, recreation coordinator.

Masks must be worn when indoors. Pre-registration is required due to social distancing guidelines. It includes multiple family photo-ops, a virtual visit with Santa and a digital Santa photo emailed to families following the event.

The event is sponsored by Christian Financial Credit Union, with help from Clinton Township Community Relations and Media Services.

“The Historic Village Holiday Lights” will replace the popular annual Christmas Aglow this year. The Township Department of Public Services will aid in this event.

Sponsored by Genisys Credit Union and English Gardens, it will officially kick off at 6 p.m. Dec. 5. The Historic Village at the Civic Center, 40700 Romeo Plank Road, will be lit up from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily until Dec. 28, allowing families to come at their leisure and take photos. Masks are required.

“We’ve been pretty lucky,” said recreation coordinator Tami Letcavage. “Our partners and families know we want to keep things safe.”

A virtual holiday treat that goes well with the present time is the department’s “25 Days of Christmas.”

Each day, starting on Dec. 1 and concluding Dec. 25, the department will upload a video onto its Facebook and YouTube pages — including sharing crafts and games, from Christmas karaoke to making gingerbread houses or reindeer food.

Letcavage said weekday videos will provide an easier variety of activities, in terms of being able for children to follow along at home with supplies. Weekend videos may be more elaborate.

“We thought it would be a good opportunity to come back with some fun for the winter months,” Kay said.

To join in the festivities, individuals have to subscribe to the department’s YouTube page at www.youtube.com/myctpr.

The holidays come on the heels of a tumultuous and untraditional spring and summer. Kay said the department got a chance to “restart and reset the tone” from a recreational point of view, uploading over 100 videos the past few months while reorganizing department goals and taking inventory for the future.

More people spent their days outdoors. Trails, basketball and pickleball courts, and ball fields were consistently full. The kayak launch at Budd Park was “busier than ever,” he said, acting as retreat from the confines of the virus.

As a few partners backed off and staffing levels decreased, it allowed for the department to move forward for now with a digital-only brochure and save tax dollars.

For more information or to stay adept to any possible event modifications, visit the department’s Facebook page.

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