Imlay City rings in the holidays Saturday
IMLAY CITY — The first 100 families to visit the Snowflake Lounge warming station at Imlay City’s Polar Express Parade and Winter Playground will have the opportunity to take home a special Imlay City Christmas ornament.
Kim Marrone, director of the Imlay City Downtown Development Authority (DDA), had special pewter snowflake ornaments with the words Happy Holidays and Imlay City in the center. To take one of the ornaments home, all people have to do is visit the Snowflake Lounge at 148 North Almont Avenue, next to Capac State Bank, any time after 11 a.m. and pick up a “North Pole Passport.”
After that, Marrone said, all people have to do is get their passport stamped at any six of the 20 participating downtown businesses to collected the ornament. Marrone DDA members thought it would be a good way to get people to hang around the downtown after the parade.
The National Weather Service is calling for a high of 61 Saturday, which means downtown Imlay City will be almost balmy when the Polar Express Parade steps off at noon at the Lamb Steele.
Dana Walker, director of the Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce, said she’s already had a dozen groups sign up for the annual kick-off to the Christmas season, but with nearly a week to go, she’s hoping for more.
The parade will leave the Lamb Steel building’s upper parking lot at noon and head west down Third Street, turn north on Almont Avenue, east on Fourth Street and south on Main Street, where Santa will end the parade by going to the the historical museum, located at 77 Main Street, where he’ll listen to children’s Christmas wishes.
About the same time, Mrs. Claus will head over to Focus Studio, 150 East Third Street, where she will read Christmas stories to children.
Those events are being sponsored by Tri- County Bank and Kelly’s Pet Salon.
For those who want to start the day early, the Imlay City Eagles will be hosting a pancake breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. at their hall at 170 South Almont Avenue.
Parade watchers will have a chance to enjoy Imlay City’s Winter Playground for a second year in a row, following the parade. With the opening of Imlay City Home Goods earlier this year, the popular The lounge will open at 11 a.m. and the first 100 families through the door will get a “North Pole Passport,” which will help them earn a free Imlay City Christmas ornament.
“The DDA and the Chamber wanted to encourage attendees to walk along the downtown sidewalks and visit our wonderful merchants,” explained Walker. To earn an ornament, passport holders will have to get at least six stickers from any of the 20 participating businesses.
At the Snowflake Lounge visitors will be able to get free treats and hot beverage from city administrative employees. Goodwill Industries of Mid-Michigan will sponsor a free children’s craft and young- sters may also enter the Chamber of Commerce coloring contest. Face painting will be available for kids for a minimal fee.
At the Farmers Market on the corner of Main and Third streets, when the Polar Express Parade ends, Imlay visitors will be able to enjoy everything from ice carving to turkey bowling.
The Ruth Hughes Memorial Library and The County Press are joining forces to being ICON’s Matthew Cooper back to town for a second time. Cooper will transform a block of ice into a work of art. After the demonstration, his handiwork will be put on display outside of the library located at 211 North Almont Ave.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the library will be offering all things gingerbread — stories, cookie decorating and a craft.
Along with bowling frozen turkeys for prizes at the Farmers Market, if there’s enough snow, people will be able to build snowmen in Lamb Steele Park.
Throughout the day members of the First Congregational United Church Christ choir will spread Christmas cheer throughout the downtown singing Christmas carols.
Following the parade, Frontier Communications will be sponsoring horsedrawn wagon rides throughout the downtown.
“People coming to the Winter Playground will want to watch out for our roaming reindeer who will be handing out presents,” said Walker. The reindeer, sponsored by Vintech Industries, will walk around town throughout the event and pass out gift certificates to local stores and other great presents all purchased from area businesses.
Last year’s Winter Playground drew 200 people. Marrone said she’d be happy 300 people came this year.
“We have activities planned throughout the downtown to encourage the community to stroll our sidewalks and shop our local businesses,” said Walker. “Many of our downtown businesses are hosting special events and open houses as well.”
Visitors to downtown Imlay City will notice 31 new giant snowflakes on the city’s light poles. The DDA began replacing the city’s two-decade old decorations last year. It started with blue and white lights on the trees along Third and Almont Streets. Marrone said this year the DDA added more lights to the district and next year hopes to decorate a community Christmas tree.
For the latest on this and other chamber activities, visit www.imlaycitymich.com or call Walker at 810-724-1361.