NEGAUNEE - It looked like a picture-perfect Christmas card when a large crowd gathered for the ceremonial tree lighting in Breitung Park that followed the annual Christmas parade Sunday night in downtown Negaunee.
When Pioneer Princess Jillian Skewis, 10, threw the switch to light the park's Christmas tree, with a little boost from Santa Claus himself, the throng erupted in cheers.
"Things went very well," said Ann Yoho, vice president of Negaunee Irontown, the organization behind thet tree lighting and parade. "It's a little cold, but it's a perfect night, really, with the snow coming down and the music."
Santa Claus made an appearance in the Ishpeming Christmas parade riding in an ATV on Sunday. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Santa Claus and his helper, Pioneer Princess Jillian Skewis, sit on a bench to listen to Christmas wishes at the Negaunee Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Sunday in Breitung Park. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)
The Ishpeming Christmas tree stands behind Old Ish on Main Street downtown on Sunday. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
The Negaunee City Band and the Lakeview School Chorus provided music of the season, whiel Irontown members served up cookies, hot chocolate and coffee to those assembled.
Santa heard the Christmas wishes of a large number of children, who also enjoyed the presence of Noel, a 2-year-old reindeer making a special appearance at the event.
The parade traversed the length of Iron Street to the park, which is at the top of the street, with Princess Jillian and Santa riding one of the City of Negaunee Fire Department's trucks to lead the throng. Fox Motors of Negaunee, the Negaunee Senior Center and the Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council were other parade participants, bringing popcorn balls and candy canes for children of all ages to enjoy.
Further to the west, with snow coming down and Jack Frost nipping at their noses, Ishpeming residents kicked off the beginning of the holiday season with their annual Christmas parade and tree lighting.
Ishpeming's festivities were originally scheduled for Friday, though a snowstorm pushed it to Sunday night. That didn't put a damper on the Christmas spirit.
Not only did Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus make an appearance in the parade but so did the new Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 7 state football championship team, the Ishpeming Hematites, who were met by loud cheers from the crowd as they rode by.
The parade ended at the Old Ish statue downtown, where the team and the crowd counted down to the lighting of the Ishpeming Christmas tree. After the tree lighting, Santa was available for visits across the street next to Congress Pizza.
The Christmas parade and tree lighting was sponsored by the Ishpeming Business Association.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is rprusi@miningjournal. net. Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.