No matter how a city shifts and changes throughout the years, community members can count on traditions like festivals and holiday parades to bring them together. The Michigan City Snowflake Parade is one such tradition. Years ago, it was an annual treat that citizens looked forward to attending. After a long hiatus, the parade made its return five years ago, and it plans on sticking around.
Hosted annually on the first Saturday in December, the Snowflake Parade presents a merry opportunity to celebrate the official start of the holiday season with neighbors. The Michigan City Fire Department hosts the parade, and attendees can expect firetrucks and firefighters to weave their way through downtown Michigan City, waving at onlookers. Santa Claus himself closes out the parade from atop a firetruck, allowing families to herald his arrival in Michigan City.
The parade falls on Saturday, December 7 this year. The lineup begins at 10th Street and ends in front of the library. Once Santa makes his way through the parade, he sets up shop in a tiny red house, a replica of the house the city crafted for him back in the 1960s when the Snowflake Parade tradition was in full swing.
“It’s an old tradition here in Michigan City for Santa Claus [to end the parade in] Santa’s house,” said Michigan City Fire Chief Randy Novak at last year’s parade. “We brought it back and we’re trying to make it as authentic as we can.”
Kids then have a chance to visit Santa and pass along their Christmas wish list to his listening ear.
Included in the fanfare of Santa’s arrival are hot cocoa and holiday cookies for spectators. Guests can also make their way to the Uptown Arts District before and after the parade to see festive window decorations and shop for special holiday gifts.
One of the elements that make the Snowflake Parade especially special is the twinkling of holiday lights basking the city in a warm glow. While most community parades take place in the morning, the Michigan City Snowflake Parade starts at 4:00 p.m., just before dusk begins to fall. Once the sun begins to set, the lights strung throughout trees, lampposts, windows, and in Washington Park make for a merry and bright sight.
Beyond the sheer festivity and excitement for the holiday season that the parade evokes is the sense of pride and community it unites in the city.
“My son’s favorite part was seeing Santa arrive on the firetruck,” said Long Beach resident Greta Goins at last year’s parade. “He loves how the policemen and firemen are so active in the community, and the fact that they are so supportive of all the kids—I think it’s just amazing for the community.”
Mark your calendars for this year’s Snowflake Parade, a Michigan City tradition that’s here to stay.