Evergreen Festival dazzles downtown

REED CITY — People of Reed City and the surrounding areas went all out this year for the traditional Christmas celebration, the Evergreen Festival, which is always the weekend of Thanksgiving. 

Crowds of people of all ages, bundled for the crisp night air,  lined the parade route from the high school, to Sears Street, to Upton Avenue, to watch the impressive lineup. This year's theme was "Polar Express." 

Led by a Reed City Police patrol car, many vehicles and floats glowed and glimmered with Christmas lights, contrasting the dark skies. The Reed City High School Marching Band performed lively Christmas selections, and horses proudly plodded in the procession, colorful lights glistening from their reigns. 

After Santa made a grand entrance, the crowd made its way to the Reed City Depot for a tree lighting ceremony.

Rich Saladin, from the Trinity Men's Group, (organizers of the tree lighting ceremony), welcomed everyone and thanked the sponsors of this year's festivities. Accompanied by guitar playing, everyone joined in Christmas carols. 

Mayor Roger Meinert then introduced the honorary tree lighter, Deb Ahlich-Remus, owner of Pere Marquette Bristo &  Catering. 

As everyone prepared for the tree to be lit, Santa said, "Let us count down to five in the Spirit of Christmas," and when the crowd got to one, the tree illuminated with beautiful glimmering bulbs. 

Visitors warmed up with cups of piping hot chocolate, while kids got to visit with Santa.   

First place for best parade entry was a tie between Osceola County Girl Scouts Service Unit, and Paige BeVier with PRIME Trucking, Inc. Second place went to The Crossroads Theatre Guild, and third place to Meceola Consolidated Central Dispatch Authority.