The Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce’s (HVCC) annual Christmas Parade will take place in Milford Village’s downtown area on Saturday, Nov. 24, beginning at 10 a.m.
The parade route starts on Main Street at Commerce Road and ends at Huron and Main Streets.
The event is sponsored this year by Tavern 131 and Americus Coney & Grill.
Toni Hochstein of the HVCC said the chamber has received about 40 applications from groups, businesses and organizations planning to march in the parade.
Children’s groups scheduled to march include local Girl Scout, Cub Scout and Brownie troops.
Associations that are scheduled to march in the parade include Milford Lodge No. 165-Free & Accepted Masons of Michigan, the Huron Valley Optimist Club, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and the Milford Business Association.
Also marching will be representatives of the Knights of Columbus Assembly No. 3099, the Highland-White Lake Business Association, the Proud Lake Recreation Area, and the Rotary Club of Milford.
Other participants include the Green Team of Huron Valley, Carls Family YMCA, Eyes Against Darkness, and the Heroes of Tomorrow (HOT) FIRST Robotics Team.
Businesses that will be represented in the parade include Milford Grocery, Angelos Supplies Inc., Americus Coney & Grill, and Tavern 131.
Music will also be performed by marching bands from Huron Valley Lakeland and Huron Valley Milford high schools.
Entertainment at the parade will be provided by local dance groups including the Milford Dance Academy and Team SK8-Rollerama Roller Figure Skating Club.
A food and pet food drive is also being held in conjunction with the parade, as patrons are encouraged to bring non-perishable foods to Milford Auto on Main Street, where food will be collected and delivered to the Community Sharing Food Pantry.
The parade’s guest of honor, Santa Claus, will also be on hand to close out the annual parade.
Before the parade, the second annual “Gobbler Gallop” will be held on Saturday, Nov. 24, with a 1-mile Fun Run beginning at 8:20 a.m. and a 4-mile walk/run beginning at 8:50 a.m.
All proceeds from the event will go directly to the Save Our Sports program for Huron Valley Schools Athletics to preserve all current athletics for middle and high school students in the district.
The races will start on Main Street at the corner of Commerce Road and will continue on a course winding through downtown Milford, across West Liberty Street, up Highland Road, and down West Commerce Street.
The turnaround for the 1-mile race will be at West Commerce Street near Family Drive, while the 4-mile race will continue onto the Milford Recreational Trail before turning around and heading back down the same course.
Both races will finish on Main Street in front of spectators just before the start of the parade.
The Gobbler Gallop is presented by the HVCC, For Feets Sake, Mizuno (running shoes), Brooks (running shoes), Merrell (shoes/boots), the Milford Downtown Development Authority (DDA), and Huron Valley State Bank.
The participation fee for the 1-mile race is $12; and the fee is $25 for the 4-mile race.
Those interested in running can register and pay the fee online by logging onto the event’s official website, gobblergallop.com.
The annual parade and races will be followed by the Milford Business Association hosting its Christmas Open House in downtown Milford on Thursday, Nov. 29, beginning at 5:45 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m.
Festivities will include performances by several different musicians, including bagpipers and carol-singing groups that will serenade customers in downtown Milford.
The big arrival of Santa Claus will take place at 6 p.m. as he rides in — not on his sleigh, but rather on a fire truck. Santa will then be stationed at the Village Center Mall on 400 N. Main Street from 6 to 9 p.m. for photos.
Those who can’t see Santa during the open house are invited to come back on Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. through Dec. 20 and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Dec. 15.
The open house will also provide nostalgic carriage rides during the event, with proceeds from the rides benefiting Community Sharing, which provides food and other services to local needy families year-round.
Patrons are also invited to help Community Sharing by bringing a canned/dry food that will be loaded into a truck that will deliver the food to the pantry.
Tracy Goodnough of For Feets Sake on Main Street said some stores will also be serving snacks, cakes, and cookies to customers.
“It’s a great kickoff to the holiday season,” Goodnough said.
According to the event’s coordinator, Ron Barnette, the event was started 20 to 25 years ago by the late Tom Motley, the long-time owner/operator of the Arms Brothers Men’s Clothing store on Main Street.
Motley was more affectionately known as “Mr. Milford.”
Barnette previously said Motley was the store’s manager for 35 years and that the merchants downtown were looking for something to do in conjunction with the holiday season.
General village rules will apply during the event.
Also throughout the holiday season, patrons visiting Milford’s downtown restaurants should be on the lookout for Santa Claus at any time, as he will pick up a patron’s tab, courtesy of downtown Milford’s merchants and property owners.
Milford Village’s official website states that last year, more than 350 people had their coffee, lunches and dinners paid for by Milford’s own Santa Claus strolling through downtown.
Downtown Milford’s holiday festivities officially kick off tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m., when children from across Milford rip off the wrapping paper covering storefront windows of shops along Main Street during “The Big Reveal,” revealing each store’s new holiday window displays.
The HVCC will then be hosting its 44th annual Holiday Gala on Dec. 1 at Bakers of Milford from 6 p.m. to midnight. The gala is a black-tie optional event that is open not only to chamber members but the entire public and community. A ticket to the event is $60 per person and includes appetizers, dinner, dessert, a drink ticket, and entertainment.
The event will also include a silent auction coordinated by the Carls Family YMCA. The HVCC states it is adding its support with 100 percent of the auction proceeds benefiting the Strong Kids Campaign.
Those interested in donating to the Strong Kids Campaign can contact Sharon Peterson of the YMCA at 248-685-3020.
Reservations are required by Friday, Nov. 23 and can be arranged by calling the HVCC office at 248-685-7129.
The Holiday Gala will also include an awards ceremony honoring this year’s 2012 HVCC honorees, including this year’s Milford Memories Volunteer of the Year, Dick Russell; this year’s Chamber Volunteer of the Year, Kellie Hett; this year’s HVCC Citizen of the Year, Linda Dagenhardt; and this year’s HVCC Business of the Year, Lynch and Sons.
The four main honorees will also be a part of the HVCC’s Christmas Parade.
In the Huron Valley School District, Huron Valley Milford High School will also be holding a canned food drive beginning on Monday, Nov. 26 and ending on Dec. 14.
Meanwhile, Huron Valley Lakeland High School will also be holding a Toys for Tots Holiday Party for handicapped children on Dec. 13 all day in the school’s auxiliary gymnasium.
Lakeland’s fund-raiser for the Toys for Tots party is its Bowl-A-Thon on Sunday, Nov. 18 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Century Bowl in Waterford Township.
Lakeland students can pick up a bowling pledge sheet by contacting Scott Rolando of Lakeland Leadership Student Activities at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by stopping at Room A507 at the high school.
A number of tree lighting events will also be held across the lakes area after the Thanksgiving holiday.
The city of Walled Lake will host a holiday tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at City Hall at 1499 E. West Maple, which will include a visit from Santa Claus.
Waterford Township’s holiday tree lighting ceremony will be held the next day, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. at Township Hall on 5200 Civic Center Drive.
On Dec. 5, White Lake Township will host its Community Tree Lighting from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Village Lakes Shopping Center near the JCPenney and Marshall’s store fronts. The event will include live reindeer, balloon creatures for kids, hot chocolate and S’mores, musical and dance performances, and crafts for kids, along with a visit from Santa and Ms. Claus.
Also on Dec. 5, the city of Wixom will host its tree lighting at the city’s municipal complex from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Santa and his reindeer will be on hand, and there will be musical performances from First Baptist Church of Wixom, Walled Lake Western High School’s marching band, and volunteers of St. Matthew’s Church. There will also be a Santa letter-writing station, cookie decorating, holiday vendors, and light refreshments.
Meanwhile, theater lovers can also see Walled Lake Western’s Theater Department presenting its production of “A Christmas Carol: The Musical,” in its final performances on Friday, Nov. 16, Saturday, Nov. 17, and Sunday, Nov. 18.
Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. for a Saturday matinee. For more information about the show, call 248-956-4400 or visit www.wlwmusical.com or www.wlcstickets.com online.
Also, Waterford Kettering High School will be presenting its annual Holiday Collage from Dec. 13 to Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. each night, while Waterford Mott High School will present its Holiday Showcase on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.
For more information about the shows, call 248-673-4205 or visit www.waterford.k12.mi.us/pac.
Walled Lake Northern High School’s Performing Arts Center will also host “Home for the Holidays: A Holiday Extravaganza,” presented by the Huron Valley Council for the Arts (HVCA) on Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. The show will feature the Michigan Philharmonic with music director and conductor Nan Washburn. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at www.huronvalleyarts.org or in person at the HVCA offices at 205 W. Livingston Road in Highland Township.
Walled Lake Central and Northern high schools’ choirs, bands, and orchestras will play a series of Winter Collage Concerts on Dec. 14 at Northern and Dec. 18 and Dec. 19 at Central, with all performances beginning at 7 p.m.
West Bloomfield High School’s band will perform at the West Bloomfield High School Auditorium on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. before the West Bloomfield High School Choir holds its Winter Concert on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.
But the granddaddy of all holiday events is the 86th annual America’s Thanksgiving Parade on Thursday, Nov. 22 in downtown Detroit.
The parade will begin at 9:05 a.m. on Woodward Avenue and Mack and end at Woodward Avenue and Congress.
Last year, Walled Lake Central’s marching band played in the downtown parade after winning the Flight 1 Michigan Competing Band Association State Championship earlier in the month.