Christmas parade, village Friday

ESCANABA — Escanaba will once again kick off the holiday season with the 59th annual Christmas parade Friday.

According to Tonya Ettenhofer, parade coordinator, this year’s parade theme is “Christmas Around the World.”

The theme was chosen, in part, because of the difficulties and tribulations that surround the nation and world. The parade will showcase coming together despite these challenges, explained Ettenhofer.

“We thought with this event and everything happening in our world, that it doesn’t matter where we live, we celebrate in our own ways,” said Ettenhofer.

The parade will be held on Friday with line-up beginning at 5:30 p.m. Floats and other participants will make their way from the Escanaba Civic Center and travel east on Ludington Street at 7 p.m., said Ettenhofer.

As in year’s past, Santa Claus will bring up the end of the parade, noted Ettenhofer. A prince and princess will also be showcased in the parade. Nominations for the parade royalty were submitted and chosen at random this morning.

Floats will also be judged in two classes: open and youth. Any business or organization that wants to build a float will be entered into the open class.

Prizes will be awarded in each class for the top three floats, said Ettenhofer. First place will be awarded $200, second place $150, and third place $100.

In addition to the parade, the U.P. Steam and Gas Engine Association will also be hosting its annual Christmas in the Village at the association’s Antique Village on the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds in Escanaba.

Skip Dufour, president of the U.P. Steam and Gas Engine Association, said the event will kick off Friday from noon until 7 p.m. and continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Admission is free, noted Dufour, but attendees are asked to bring an unwrapped toy or canned good that will be donated to a local food pantry and charitable organization.

Festivities showcased at Christmas in the Village will include cookies in the Ice Cream Shop, vendors in the Community Building, hot chocolate in the Cook Shack, bonfires in the village square, and much more.

A can raffle will also be held in the Community Building, according to Dufour.

“It’s an awful lot of fun,” said Dufour. “It’s going to be really nice.”

Various demonstrations will also be held throughout the event, including glass blowing and wood carving. Wagon rides will also be available for guests, said Dufour.

New this year, the U.P. Steam and Gas Engine Association’s village chapel will be open for viewing and music from carolers. The chapel will be made available throughout the year for boutique weddings, renewal of vows, and memorial services.

Santa Claus will also be making an appearance at the village to visit all of the guests.

“It’s really Christmassy,” said Dufour. “The village will be all decorated.”