Evergreen Festival embodies Christmas spirit, fun

REED CITY — The Christmas spirit was alive and well in downtown Reed City for the annual Evergreen Festival, which took place Friday and Saturday.

"It has been incredible," said Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Suzie Williams on Saturday. "The weather has been beautiful, so I feel that helped bring more people to the festival."

The days were packed with events that highlighted the season and celebrated the coming together of families for the holidays. For the traditional parade, thousands of adults and children lined Upton Avenue to view the floats, walkers, animals and more, followed by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Reed City native Jennifer McMullen took her 5-year old son Peyton and 7-year-old daughter Brianna to the parade. Although the trio lives in Indiana, McMullen said she enjoys participating in the festival each time they return for Thanksgiving weekend.

"The kids like the parade," she said. "We try to come every year. The festival is an enjoyable time and it's a great thing to have."

Following the parade, the new Santa’s Sleigh Bed Race event took center stage. Teams from Wesco, the Reed City Fire Department, Reed City Dental Health and the Lincoln Township Fire Department competed in heats to win cash prizes.

Each team did their best to win, but the team representing the Reed City Fire Department came out on top, with Reed City Dental Health coming in second.

Team members Gary and Brook Montague, Glenn Hare, Trevor Kinsey and Garrett Herring took a breather following the last heat, which was their third consecutive race. Their bed took two to three weeks to weld, paint, decorate and hook up flashing lights.

"It feels great to win our own event," said Kinsey between breaths. "Maybe next year we'll get the air horn hooked up."

Although the team from Wesco became disqualified in its first heat after losing a tire, the group carried the bed across the finish line and vowed to make a stronger structure next year.

Between heats, a Rudolph Run allowed children of various age groups compete in a race to win ribbons.

Money raised from the sleigh bed race will go toward the Reed City Fire Department purchase of mechanical CPR devices, which are needed to assist with manpower shortages the department faces during the daytime.

The Reed City Depot was packed with families wishing to see Santa Claus, pet his reindeer and go inside the building to decorate 350 gingerbread cookies.

"It's great to see so many people come out for the day," Williams said. "Everyone has been having a lot of fun."

Across town at Reed City High School, the annual craft show welcomed hundreds of browsers and buyers to vendors throughout the hallways. Homemade food items, knit accessories, home goods, health products, decorations, jewelry, quilts and more were offered from vendors who traveled near and far to take part.