2016 Garden City Downtown Development Authority Santaland Parade a Huge Success!
A sea of happy and smiling faces greeted a large brigade of marching bands, Ghostbusters, "Star Wars" characters and more at the 56th annual Santaland Parade last Saturday.
Crowds lined Ford Road to cheer Santa and their favorite local residents atop elaborate floats, all decorated in keeping with the parade’s theme, “It’s a Gingerbread Thing.”
The parade, a long-running Garden City tradition was a success, said Santaland Parade Committee member Dan York, who estimated the crowd to be “in the thousands.”
“It went extraordinarily well,” York said, adding that despite a spot of wet weather earlier in the day, the rain cleared up to make way for a few rays of sunshine.
York mentioned that although the parade was staged from a new location due to construction on the Garden City High School parking lot, participants adjusted well to change. “It went off without a hitch,” he said.
Parade-goers cheered as marching bands from Garden City High School, Taylor Kennedy High School and Livonia Franklin High School passed by and laughed as members of the Great Lakes Ghostbusters sprayed foam out of their guns. They also applauded the Garden City Youth Athletic Association’s float, which took first place in the float contest. Nabbing second place in the contest was the Garden City Soccer Club’s float, which featured gingerbread men playing soccer. Local building contractors The Buccilli Group took third place with a gingerbread house float.
Other parade participants included The Great Lakes Garrison Star Wars costuming group, mascots from local professional sports teams, including the Detroit Tigers' Paws, the Detroit Lions' Roary, the Detroit Pistons’ Hooper, and “W” the mascot from Wayne State University. The Wayne State Warriors cheerleading squad, Stan the Fireman, the Royal Arch Masons, the American Legion Riders, the GCHS Cougars cheerleaders and pom pon squad, the Garden City Middle School pom pon squad, the Redford Lawnmower Brigade and the Harmony Acres Arabian Horses also marched in the parade. Garden City native Nolan Finley, the editorial page editor of The Detroit News, was the parade’s grand marshal.
Following the parade, a meet and greet with Santa provided an additional highlight for the event. Also Saturday, the Garden City Business Alliance held its second annual Business Expo. The event featured close to 50 local vendor highlighting their offerings to the community, said Kelly Partin, co-founder of the GCBA.
“We had a very good turnout. Our vendors said traffic was steady and they were pleased,” Partin said. Partin lauded the efforts of GCBA co-founder Kelly Perkins, as well as member Barbara McConnell, owner of Michigan Massage Professionals in Garden City.