Madison Heights plans drive-thru tree lighting for end of November

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published November 6, 2020

 The planned route for the Madison Heights Holiday Tree Lighting’s new drive-thru format will have motorists entering on Agnello Street, off of 13 Mile Road, west of John R Road, and looping around to exit through the southern parking lot of City Hall, near the gazebo and library. The event will be Nov. 30, and the lights are scheduled to turn on around 6:30 p.m.

The planned route for the Madison Heights Holiday Tree Lighting’s new drive-thru format will have motorists entering on Agnello Street, off of 13 Mile Road, west of John R Road, and looping around to exit through the southern parking lot of City Hall, near the gazebo and library. The event will be Nov. 30, and the lights are scheduled to turn on around 6:30 p.m.

Photo provided by Mark Bliss

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MADISON HEIGHTS — The Holiday Tree Lighting is a cherished tradition in Madison Heights, and this year it will continue, but in a new format.

At the urging of members of the Madison Heights City Council at the regular meeting Oct. 26, city staff has agreed to design and implement a drive-thru tree lighting, set for Nov. 30 — one week later than the usual date, in order to provide extra time for planning.

The lights at Civic Center Plaza — on 13 Mile Road, just west of John R Road — will begin turning on around 6:30 p.m. Motorists will head down Agnello Street, as though driving up to Lamphere High School, and will leave via the southern City Hall parking lot, by the library and gazebo.   

Along the way there will be a variety of light displays, as well as various exhibits offering a mix of live entertainment and giveaways.

Madison Heights City Councilman Mark Bliss pitched the drive-thru idea. He said that the city will invite resident boards and community groups to set up stations along the route, similar to the recently held Trail Tunes and Pumpkin Walk at Civic Center Park.

“As this event was just saved … I don’t have specifics yet on who’s participating and what they’re doing,” Bliss said. “That said, we anticipate a mix of giveaways that will be placed in cars who want them, as well as entertainment that can be seen from the safety of the vehicles. At the end of the trail will be Santa and a fire truck, with a box for kids to place their letters to Santa while they wave to him.

“People call this the ‘new normal,’ but that only works if we take the time to creatively find ways to do normal things in new ways,” he said. “Our citizens deserve that extra effort. With skyrocketing anxiety and depression, they also deserve to have safe ways to feel the energy that comes from experiencing the power of community. In my opinion, this tree lighting has never been more important to have, and it’s never had more significance. Lighting this tree will also light up the community, showing our citizens that we can and will get through this together.”

Robert Corbett, the most veteran member of the Madison Heights City Council, has seen plenty of tree lightings over the years.

“I’m glad to hear that we will be able to do this. I’m very happy to hear the staff has come through and will have an operational plan for the tree lighting,” Corbett said. “I think it’s important that we try to provide opportunities for the community that don’t necessarily involve money but that will allow them to get out with the family and experience what we have to offer here in Madison Heights — certainly a long tradition of Christmas celebration is part of that.

“I remember, quite warmly over the years, the families who would attend the tree lighting ceremony year after year: the middle school choir leading the Christmas caroling; the hot chocolate people walking around; we often have reindeer there for the kids to come up to and pet. How we will do any of that this year I don’t know, but certainly anything we can do to continue this tradition for the families of this community would be terrific.”

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