Shelby Township holiday spirit is ‘aglow’ with tree lighting

By: Brad D. Bates | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 28, 2012

 Ciara Witkowsi, 9, of Shelby Township, writes a letter to Santa Claus.

Ciara Witkowsi, 9, of Shelby Township, writes a letter to Santa Claus.

File photo by Donna Agusti

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — While it’s a chance to see some of Shelby Township’s newest high-tech holiday decorations, the 2012 Shelby Township Christmas Aglow event features plenty of tried-and-true holiday delights.

Headlined by a visit from Santa Claus to kick off the Christmas season at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at Shelby Township’s municipal grounds at 52700 Van Dyke Ave., the Christmas Aglow event is a favorite that seems to grow every season.

“The Parks and Recreation Department has done a fabulous job creating even more of a family atmosphere,” township Supervisor Richard Stathakis said of the 2012 Aglow, which will feature bonfires for marshmallow roasting and refreshments from the Shelby Township Lions Club.

“And with the new added activities, it continues to grow as one of the major family attractions in Shelby Township,” he said.

“We’ve seen, the last two or three years, double in our attendance,” Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Director Joe Youngblood said of the Aglow. It will be brighter than ever with new LED decorations.

“And the key is making those changes. A lot of places get stagnant, and, with those changes, it’s nice,” he said.

Along with Santa, other holiday classics, such as carols sung by the Eisenhower High School choir and horse-drawn carriage rides, set the tone, which culminates with the lighting of the township’s Christmas tree.

“I think, with our township grounds right here, with the church and schoolhouse and lighting, it gives that little small-town feeling — a little bit of a downtown feeling here,” Youngblood said.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will meet and greet guests in the historic Hope Chapel, and there will also be stations set up for young and old to create holiday keepsakes with arts and crafts activities.

The Aglow is free, but attendees are asked to donate a canned good to the township’s Feed the Need program, which will distribute food items to those in need through the Shelby Township Lions Club’s holiday food basket program.

Before heading north, Santa will stick around in Shelby Township to host the Breakfast with Santa & Friends event at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Dec. 8 at the Shelby Community Center at 51670 Van Dyke Ave.

The breakfast is a family-style pancake feast, where kids can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus. Reservations for the breakfast are mandatory.

The cost of the breakfast is $7 for Shelby Township and Utica residents and $14 for nonresidents, and donations to the Feed the Need program will be collected.

If families desire a more formal environment with good old St. Nick, the Dinner and Dancing with Santa Claus at 6 p.m. Dec. 13 at Cherry Creek Banquet Center at 52000 Cherry Creek Drive may be more inviting.

Reservations for this event are mandatory and include a buffet dinner, dancing, a disc jockey and a visit with Santa Claus. The cost for Shelby and Utica residents is $18 per person ages 5 through adult and $6 per person for ages 4 and younger.

For more information or to make reservations for the breakfast and dinner, call the Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Department at (586) 731-0300.