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 Live reindeer will be part of the Royal Oak Holiday Glow  in downtown Royal Oak Dec. 7-8.

Live reindeer will be part of the Royal Oak Holiday Glow in downtown Royal Oak Dec. 7-8.

Photo provided by Julie Law

Royal Oak introduces 2-day Christmas festival

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published December 4, 2018

ROYAL OAK — The city of Royal Oak will ring in the holiday season with a new two-day festival called Royal Oak Holiday Glow. The festival will take place on Washington Avenue, between Fifth and Seventh streets, from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, and from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8.

“We are really looking forward to Holiday Glow,” Downtown Manager Sean Kammer said in a statement. “This event is a breath of fresh air, promising innovative new ideas that showcase all of the great things we have to offer in downtown Royal Oak.”

The festival will include giant hot air balloons along Washington Avenue, horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a holiday market inside a 7,200-square-foot heated tent, live ice carving, a cookie crawl and more.

Event organizer Julie Law, of 360 Event Productions, said that weather-permitting, her company plans to erect three eight-story-tall hot air balloons that will remain tethered.

“This has never been done in the state of Michigan,” she said. “We’re really excited about it, and the great thing about hot air balloons is they project heat, which is great for this time of year.”

She said the hot air balloon pilots would invite kids to look into the baskets and pull the rope to ignite the burners and, in case of inclement weather, she still planned a “torch of fire” event minus the balloons so guests could watch flames shoot 20 feet into the air.

From 1 to 6 p.m. Dec. 8, the cookie crawl will take place at local retailers in the downtown footprint. Law recommends that those interested purchase tickets in advance at

“We partnered with local bakeries to bake holiday cookies,” Law said. “Participants will get a cookie tin and collect 24 cookies.”

While already sold out of horse and carriage rides, Law said the event would also feature horse-drawn wagon rides that seat 18 people. She said caroling hosts will encourage Christmas singalongs during the ride, and children 12 and younger will receive a jingle bell bracelet.

She said she also anticipates that the wagon rides will sell out, and she suggests that those interested purchase tickets in advance.

“Another unique thing that we’re doing is we’re going to completely enclose Fifth Street between Center and Washington with a massive heated tent, and inside that tent will be vendors that have unique gifts for the holidays,” Law said. “There will also be live entertainment and a bar, and we’ll have a variety of food vendors on-site.”

For a small fee, children can take a ride on a trackless train that will travel up and down Washington Avenue, she said.

“There’s going to be lots of activities, and we’ll also have a local choir and bell choir,” she said. “It’s a completely free event.”

From 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 7 and from 2 to 6 p.m. Dec. 8, Santa, Mrs. Claus and live reindeer will turn the former Gayle’s Chocolates storefront into a winter wonderland and visit with children.

For more information, visit