Detroit and New York City may have elaborate Thanksgiving parades, but in this neck of the woods, lakes area residents won’t want to miss the 2012 Holiday Extravaganza Parade in downtown Pontiac beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1.
The parade route begins at the Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency (OLHSA), located at 196 Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, continues to Saginaw Street, and ends at the Phoenix Center Plaza.
The event is hosted by a collaborative of the cities of Pontiac and Auburn Hills, and White Lake and Waterford townships. The Holiday Extravaganza Parade’s mission is “to bring together Oakland County’s cities and townships to share together in celebration of the holiday season in the heart of Oakland County.”
“I’ve been involved in the parade for least a decade and love the tradition that Pontiac started,” said Fran Anderson, a member of the Greater Pontiac Host Advisory Committee and announcer for this year’s parade. “People have been the excitement of the parade. They fill the streets and each year it has grown with people now from four communities. It sets a wonderful tone for enjoying the holidays.”
This year there will be over 100 popular costume characters handing out free hugs, along with a menagerie of floats, including the traditional Everyday Hero float on which police and fire personnel from each of the communities will ride in honor of the military.
In addition to the floats in the streets, there will be marching bands, fire trucks, horse-drawn carriages, choreographed dancers, and over 100 community groups represented.
Andrew Humphrey of WDIV-TV (Channel 4) will be featured as the parade’s grand marshal.
Like last year, the Children WinterArt Festival will be held prior to the parade from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. The family-friendly event includes craft projects, a petting farm, Santa’s reindeer, face painters, balloon artists, hot cocoa and s’mores, and more. Moreover, the Gallery of Ice will feature several ice sculptures and live demonstrations.
Genisys Credit Union is again one of the major sponsors of the holiday parade.