Ring in the holidays at the Madison Heights Tree Lighting

Goodfellows will collect food at Nov. 24 event, and sell papers Nov. 29

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published November 19, 2014

 Kailey Easton, then 6, of Madison Heights, got to meet Santa Claus at last year’s lighting. Santa will be back for this year’s lighting, as well.

Kailey Easton, then 6, of Madison Heights, got to meet Santa Claus at last year’s lighting. Santa will be back for this year’s lighting, as well.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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MADISON HEIGHTS — It’s an annual tradition in Madison Heights.

Everyone gets together in front of City Hall for hot chocolate and sugar cookies, petting real reindeer and listening to Christmas music by a school band. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus then arrive by fire truck, step into the gazebo and turn on the lights, brightening Civic Center Plaza, the library and a stretch of 13 Mile.

The cheerful event will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 24. City Hall is located at 300 W. 13 Mile, near the corner of John R.

“It’s a very important community event,” said Jeffrey Mueller, assistant city manager of Madison Heights. “It’s events like this that make the community, so I encourage everyone to come out, see your neighbors and old friends, share some fun, and bring the kids out to see Santa.”

Carousel Acres will be back with their pen full of live reindeer, which people can pet and feed. Oakland County’s mobile stage unit will also be back; the band from John Page Middle School will take the stage to fill the air with holiday tunes.

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be available for pictures in the library, and cookies and hot chocolate will be served near the steps of City Hall. There won’t be an ice-carving demonstration this year, but at press time, the city was in talks with Flagstar Bank about a tent with crafts for the kids. 

The lights will stay on through Christmas and New Year’s Day. Both the tree lighting and the light displays are made possible by the generosity of others. 

“Years ago, the city used to fund it, but when they went through budget cuts, they had to cut back,” Mueller said. “We obviously wanted to keep it going, though, so we’re doing that with private donations.”

The event will also serve as a drop-off point for nonperishable canned and boxed food items being collected by the Madison Heights Goodfellows.

The Goodfellows provide Christmas gifts and clothing to needy children each year, and when they can, they include food items in the delivery to help the families.

Beyond the tree lighting, the Goodfellows will be having their annual newspaper sale at intersections across the city from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29. They’ll be wearing their red hats and fluorescent vests, and the money they raise will help them buy presents for the children.

“The Goodfellows provided Christmas for my father and his family growing up,” said Madison Heights City Councilman Robert Corbett. “My grandfather was ill from a young age, and they were very poor. If it weren’t for the Goodfellows, there wouldn’t have been many Christmases in their house.

“So whenever my dad would see a solicitor for the Goodfellows during the holiday season, even if he was on the wrong side of the street, he’d turn around and go back a half-mile to contribute,” Corbett said. “He told me that if it weren’t for these strangers he didn’t know at all coming to their doors a few days before Christmas, there probably wouldn’t have been much at all.”

In order for the newspaper sale to be a success, more volunteers are needed. Volunteers are to report to the Club Venetian, 29310 John R, no later than 9:30 a.m. that Saturday, Nov. 29. They’ll be assigned an intersection, which will be marked with a sign indicating a solicitor is present.

If someone isn’t able to contribute to the newspaper sale, they can also drop off an envelope with a contribution at the police station, 24/7, and dispatch will make sure it finds its way to the Goodfellows. The police station is located at 280 W. 13 Mile, next to Lamphere High School, part of Civic Center Plaza.

In addition, there will also be a fundraiser at Augie’s Bar and Grill, 31660 John R. The event will take place from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6,  and feature cookies and cocoa with Santa, photo opportunities for $5, and a spaghetti dinner for $10, as well as a silent auction featuring sports memorabilia.   

“With the Goodfellows, 100 percent of the money goes to help the children and their families in our community,” Corbett said. “It all stays in the community. And it really does help.”

The Madison Heights Holiday Tree Lighting will take place at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 24, in front of Madison Heights City Hall, 300 W. 13 Mile. The Madison Heights Goodfellows will be accepting donations of nonperishable food items.

The Goodfellows will also be raising money during their newspaper sale at major intersections throughout the city, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29. Volunteers are needed; report to the Club Venetian, 29310 John R, no later than 9:30 a.m. Nov. 29.

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