As part of the yearly festivities with the Holiday Lights Parade, Santa Claus, seen here last year, receives the key to the city of Berkley.

As part of the yearly festivities with the Holiday Lights Parade, Santa Claus, seen here last year, receives the key to the city of Berkley.

File photo by Donna Dalziel


With help from Santa, Berkley ready for another Holiday Lights Parade

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published November 26, 2018

BERKLEY — The streets of Berkley soon will light up the night sky with Christmas lights.

For its 14th year, the Berkley Holiday Lights Parade and tree-lighting ceremony will return beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in the city’s downtown.

The parade route travels east on 12 Mile Road, from Cummings Street to Coolidge Highway, and ends at City Hall, where Santa Claus himself will light the Christmas tree.

“We have such a great turnout for this event, and just to see all the little kids and just how excited they are (for) our wonderful, wonderful Santa that comes down from the North Pole,” event chairperson Cinda Coon said of what she loves most about the parade.

The parade will feature more than 50 local groups and organizations, including Brownies, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, community organizations, churches and dance clubs, capped off by Santa in his sleigh float.

Outside of the tree lighting and parade festivities, there also will be a children’s petting zoo and pony rides, which will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at 12 Mile Road and Tyler Street. Berkley and Royal Oak high schools will have a presence as well, as both marching bands will be performing during the event.

After the parade, there will be horse-drawn carriage rides on Rosemont Street near City Hall; the rides will take people through the decorated Berkley neighborhoods. There will be an admission fee of $5 per person for the carriage rides, though there will be a discounted family rate for more than four people.

“Where the carriages go, the residents down these streets decorate their houses like crazy,” Coon said.

Mayor Dan Terbrack said last year’s festivities were exciting for him, as his daughters were able to walk with him during the parade.

“For me and my wife with the kids, I mean, the main event is clearly Santa showing up and them getting to get a quick minute with him to tell him what they want the elves to make them for Christmas,” he said. “It’s a magical night. Everyone in the city just piles in. It’s just a great occasion. It’s one of our signature events that make Berkley such a great place to live.”

Last year’s Holiday Lights Parade was Terbrack’s first as mayor, and it was then that he was able to hand the key to the city to Santa at the tree-lighting ceremony for the first time.

“My kids can clearly see that I’ve got a very close relationship with the man in red. So I make sure I leverage that as much as possible throughout the rest of the month,” he joked.