Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Santa Sightings in West Michigan

With Christmas fast approaching, soon that Jolly Old Elf is going to be everywhere you look! Make sure you don't miss out on a Santa visit this year by using our "Santa Sightings" guide below!

  • December 7thWinter Wonderland at GVSU
    Visit the Grand Valley State University Fieldhouse Arena from 11am-1pm to take free pictures with Santa and Louie the Laker! You’ll be granted free admission to the basketball games (at 1pm & 3pm) with Winter Wonderland participation.
Big Rapids
  • November 6thFestival of Trees Reception
    The Festival of Trees is an annual event in which community members donate trees, wreaths, and holiday gift items. The items and trees - decorated in their most creative holiday style, are presented at a special reception in November and auctioned off to help support the Big Rapids Hospital Foundation. The exhibit is open to the public free of charge. Tickets to the reception are available from Hospital Trustees, the Foundation Board members, or from the Foundation office at (231) 592-4280.
  • November 23rdFestival of Lights Christmas Parade
    This popular parade features about 30 floats and groups of walkers loaded with Christmas lights, live reindeer, plus Santa & Mrs. Claus’ grand entrance!  A short program and tree lighting ceremony takes place after the parade in front of the downtown Chemical Bank branch.  Santa is available for visits after the ceremony at Big Rapids Furniture.  
Boyne City
  • November 29thHoliday Open House & Parade
    The Holiday Open House & Santa Parade, held the Friday after Thanksgiving, is a tradition in Boyne City and that tradition continues this year. The open houses begin at 5 p.m. with the Boyne Area Girl Scouts lighting the Community Christmas Tree at the west end of One Water Street, near Sunset Park. Following the tree lighting the Girl Scouts will lead holiday revelers in caroling. The evening's special guest is the Jolly Old Man from the North. Santa will arrive on his sleigh, joined by some of his elves, and some reindeer from the North Pole. The parade starts at 6 p.m. and the parade route will follow Lake Street to Water Street through the heart of downtown Boyne City. After the parade, there will be hay rides, and Santa will meet with children at the gazebo in Old City Park at the corner of River and Park Streets.
  • December 7thParade of Lights
    This parade includes lighted floats from all sorts of local organizations, clubs, businesses, etc.  Santa and his sleigh are the last “float,” and at the end of the parade Santa will get off his sleigh, light the community Christmas Tree, and pass out toys to all the little ones.
  • November 30th -December 22ndThe Santa Train
    The jolly old elf holds court from a special seat in each of the decorated, vintage train cars.  Some cars are almost 100 years old.  His Elves will escort the little ones to sit with Santa.  All children, even the shy ones,  will get a special gift, right from Santa’s big bag.  To put a figurative bow on this Christmas entertainment package, the Story Telling Princess will read “The Polar Express”, which was written by Grand Rapids native, Chris Van Allsburg. The 250 seat, heated train leaves the station in historic, downtown Coopersville every Saturday and Sunday from Thanksgiving until Christmas. All passenger cars have a restroom.  Light snacks may be brought aboard. Cameras are encouraged.
  • December 6thCoopersville Nighttime Christmas Parade at 7pm
  • December 7thFennville Christmas Celebration
    Christmas parade at 5 pm. Christmas tree lighting will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Hutchinson Garden. The Fennville High School Band and the Holland Windmill Chorus will both perform. Photos can be taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus at 6 p.m. at the 220 Building. Horse-drawn carriage rides will be available from 6-8 p.m.
Grand Haven
  • December 14thGrant Community Annual Christmas Party
    Santa Claus will arrive aboard the Santa Express Train times to be announced.  He will then go to the Grant Community Center to meet good boys and girls and have a complimentary photograph taken with each child. Photos will be available for same day pick-up within 15-25 minutes of the time taken.  J.B. Sound will be here playing Christmas music, and the Grant Jazz Band will play around 1:30pm. Other activities include Decorate a Christmas Cookie, Christmas Crafts, Games, Horse-drawn Wagon Rides. 
  • December 21st & 22ndSki with Santa
    Timber Ridge Ski Area has two ski with Santa days: Saturday & Sunday Dec. 21 & 22.  Santa skis with the kids, takes their Christmas wishes on a chairlift ride to the top.  Santa has candy canes for everyone....Even visits the lodge for requests...You will see him here from Noon to 3PM each day, 12/21 & 12/22.
Grand Rapids
  • November 23rd: Art Van Santa Parade
    Featuring participants & floats including the West Michigan Whitecaps.
  • November 26th-January 5thChristmas & Holiday Traditions Around the World at Meijer Gardens
    Roof Top Reindeer, Saturdays, 1-4 pm. Location: English Perennial and Bulb Garden. As part of the Meijer Gardens’ Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World exhibition, live Reindeer will be visiting our English Perennial and Bulb Garden for pictures, petting, and fun!
    Santa Visits, Tuesdays, 6-8 pm. Bring the kids to visit Santa at Meijer Gardens. Santa and his sleigh will be in the Cook Entry Arbor to hear your kids’ Christmas wishes. Remember your camera to capture images of your child with Santa Claus!
  • December 8th-22ndSunday Brunches with Santa
    The Hilton Grand Rapids/Spinnaker Restaurant will be having Sunday Brunches with Santa in December. December 8, 15, 22 from 11am – 2pm.  Santa will be visiting to talk to the kids and take pictures. 
Harbor Springs
  • November 30thChristmas Tree Lighting
    The Harbor Springs Christmas Tree Lighting at 6:30pm is one of the most unforgettable ways to start off the holiday season with the lighting ceremony and a special evening of activity in the picturesque town of Harbor Springs! Music, shopping and Christmas entertainment in a nostalgic setting reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting that will create fond memories that will last a lifetime! Plus, there will be a very special Santa visit, at the Christmas tree and church, for family and kids. 
  • December 3rd: Parade of Lights
    Parade will include participants like the Holland DoubleTree Hotel.
  • December 6thSinterklaas
    This holiday celebration remembering Dutch tradition begins at the Holland Armory where holiday stories will be told along with a free holiday craft for young children. Then follow the procession of Sinterklaas through the streets to his arrival at the Museum for pictures, cookies, and hot chocolate.
  • November 23rdHudsonville Holiday Parade
  • The Hudsonville Holiday Parade will feature both Mrs. & Santa Claus as well as the reindeer!
  • December 5th-8th25th Annual Sleighbell Festival
    Enjoy roasted chestnuts and carolers as you take part in one of Michigan's most unique holiday celebrations. A whole weekend of excitement including the Sleighbell Parade on Saturday at 5:30 pm with horse drawn entries, historic building tours, special Christmas production at the historic Ramsdell Theatre, Festival of Trees, concerts, museum and art exhibits, and much more.  
  • December 4thXmas Tree Decorating
    Xmas Tree decorating in Downtown Newaygo – Santa will be present during the day to visit with the Newaygo’s Elementary Students
  • December 6thChristmas Walk
    This unique hometown experience is like no other with twinkling lights, horse drawn wagon rides, the smell of fresh roasted chestnuts and the sounds of Christmas Carols make this an experience you will not want to miss. The community is invited to come and sing Christmas carols in Brooks Park at 9 pm.  This is a candle light gathering around the Christmas Warming Fire.   Santa will be on hand at 6:00 pm for the tree lighting ceremony and also be available for photos at Independent Bank, Sportsman’s Bar & Restaurant & LaBelle de la Riviere until 9:00 pm.
  • December 7thSaint Nick Kick 5K/10K
    Ho Ho Ho, it’s The ChoiceOne Bank Saint Nick Kick you know. The 10k/5k race will begin at 10 am in front of Shopko near Plumbs. This is a fun race and the proceeds benefiting the Cross Country Team and Track Team of Newaygo Public Schools. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the race under the warming tent and can’t wait to see the kids.  A free Santa hat and race shirt is provided to registered racers. Registration is available on line. Dress-up, come join the fun and cheer on the racers.
  • December 14thSanta Train
    Stops to include Grant, Newaygo & White Cloud – more information coming soon on times and locations please check Christmas events
  • November 30thStafford’s Downtown Petosky Holiday Parade
    The parade winds through Downtown Petoskey starting at 10am with marching bands, floats, walking ensembles, reindeer, horses and of course, Santa, ending at the Perry Hotel where children can have those all-important conversations with Santa and see his reindeer as well. Join us for a time of family, friends, and fun! 
St. Joseph
  • December 7th15th Annual Reindog Parade
    The 15th annual Reindog Holiday Parade, sponsored by FuzzyButz, features dressed up pets and their owners in a variety of holiday garb. Be prepared to see all kinds of costumes from “Santa Bernards” to “Reindeer Rotweilers” -  this is definitely a must-see event. The parade will start at 4 p.m. and travel down State Street.  It will also feature Santa’s arrival to downtown St. Joseph.  In addition, enjoy free horse-drawn trolley rides from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (weather permitting).
  • December 7th-22ndSanta’s House
    Picture-perfect holiday fun is available weekends in December in downtown St. Joseph.  Santa will be at his house following the Reindog Parade on December 7 and will be available for visits until 7:00 p.m. Santa’s House is open Thursdays through Sundays from December 8 – December 22 and located at the corner of State and Pleasant Streets.  Hours for Santa’s House can be found at Thank you to The Herald-Palladium for sponsoring this event. 
Traverse City
  • December 6thSanta’s Arrival
    An outdoor extravaganza that involves carol-singing, the lighting of the community Christmas tree, and the arrival of Santa Claus on a bright red antique fire engine.

1 comment:

Jill said...

Santa will be coming to the White Lake area (Montague-Whitehall) on Saturday, December 7th. Come to the annual Christmas Parade, beginning at 2 PM and afterward see St. Nick at his "house" in front of the Montague City Hall where he'll be keeping regular hours. Visit for more info.