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 Darcy Scott and Mandy Farquhar peruse handcrafted mittens and gloves made my Geneen Brand at a former Holly Days celebration.

Darcy Scott and Mandy Farquhar peruse handcrafted mittens and gloves made my Geneen Brand at a former Holly Days celebration.

File photo by Andrew Potter

Holly Days celebration to return to downtown Farmington

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published December 4, 2019

 Shoppers look at handmade wreaths created by Goetz Farms, of Riga, Michigan, at a former Holly Days celebration.

Shoppers look at handmade wreaths created by Goetz Farms, of Riga, Michigan, at a former Holly Days celebration.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


FARMINGTON — As lights are strewn across Riley Park, and wreaths and garlands are hung around the Sundquist Pavilion, downtown Farmington is transforming into a holiday wonderland in preparation for Holly Days Dec. 7.

With so many activities on tap during this year’s Holly Days, Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Connor Osborn said the event committee has created a passport for children and families that can be marked off at each location, so they know where they’ve been and what they still have to see.

The annual daylong celebration will kick off with a special holiday farmers market —  Greens, Gifts & Giving — 10 a.m.-5 p.m., along with showings of “The Polar Express” and “Shrek the Halls” 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Farmington Civic Theater. Admission to the movies is one canned food item, which will be donated to the Farmington Area Goodfellows.

The Holly Days Market will feature more than 30 vendors selling barn-fresh wreaths, ropings and centerpieces, as well as approximately 30 artists selling handcrafted works that may provide that perfect gift for someone on your shopping list, said Farmers Market General Manager Walt Gajewski. That’s not all the market will offer, however.

The market will also include a number of food vendors, a chestnut roasting activity, specially crafted holiday spirits and hot beverages, train rides, a gift wrapping station, a holiday photo booth, and a children’s ornament-making station. All this will be topped off by warm fires and strolling carolers to help people get in the holiday mood.

In the spirit of giving, attendees will also have the opportunity to donate to Community, Action, Resources, Empowerment, Services of Farmington Hills and receive some award-winning chili, with all the fixings, from Page’s Food & Spirits.

Outside of the market, Santa will be stationed at the Farmington Garage, 33014 Grand River Ave., 10 a.m.-3 p.m., waiting to hear children’s Christmas wishes. Mrs. Claus will be telling stories at Essential Family Chiropractic, 23334 Farmington Road, and crafts can be made at the Elves Workshop inside Great Lakes Ace Hardware, 33021 Grand River Ave.

The annual Light Up the Grand Parade, featuring 30 different floats, will begin at 5:30 p.m., leading attendees to the city’s 34th annual tree-lighting ceremony at the Governor Warner Mansion, organized by the Farmington Area Jaycees.

The ceremony will include entertainment from School of Rock Farmington, Thistle Rose Academy of Arts, All That Brass, and the Farmington Community Chorus. Business and Citizen of the Year awards will be announced.

Osborn said an annual event of this caliber wouldn’t be possible without the support and participation of the businesses and organizations involved, as well as the families who come year after year.

“I want families who come here to feel they are appreciated for being a part of our community,” Osborn said. “Ultimately, this (event) is for families to feel that joyous occasion that this time of year brings to everyone.”

While most of the activities may more traditionally be geared toward Christmas, Osborn said his committee “tried our best” to be inclusive to other holiday traditions and faiths.

“It was hard to find (a balance). We’ve been doing it this way for so long,” he said. “We do have an extremely diverse community, and we want to be open to everyone, which is why, though there are Christmas-specific attributes to this, we hope that families of other faiths still want to be involved in this community event.”

No matter what holiday your family is gearing up for this season, Gajewski believes Holly Days will provide a jolt of holiday spirit across the board.

“Some people naturally get into the holiday spirit. Other people may have to kickstart themselves or may not know where to find it,” Gajewski said. “Sometimes, your holiday spirit arrives early; sometimes, it arrives late. The experience I think (Holly Days) is going to provide is that feeling of home and a sense of place.

“You can find the holiday spirit just about anywhere, even on TV, but finding it in your heart is a unique experience, and we’re going to provide opportunities to do that here.”