Joe Powers / Insitu Photography
At the end of a year for the history books, the COVID-19 pandemic poses challenges for family gatherings and coming together this Christmas. In Sterling Heights, residents are turning to the outdoors and online platforms to celebrate the season and find some joy, with stunning light displays, a virtual tree lighting, the opening of Dodge Park ice rink, and online elf spotting.
Metromode photographer Joe Powers captures some of the scenes to see in the city this month.
Residents are showing off their festive spirit with elaborate yard displays and this home on Irval Drive is no exception.
A holiday lights scavenger hunt, organized by the Parks and Recreation Department, encourages visitors to snap photos of 20 listed items
for chance to win a $25 gift card at My Pizza Place.
This year's tree-lighting ceremony went digital, with a virtual ceremony on Dec. 1, complete with an appearance from Santa Claus to receive the key to the city.
A city-wide online treasure hunt this year has "Sterling the Elf" popping up at community locations through December, and the mascot is pictured here at a Friends of Foster Kids fundraising event. For 25 days the iconic Elf on the Shelf toy will grace social media pages of the city's library, police, fire department, city hall, and parks and recreation. Participants are asked to solve clues and submit answers to compete for a final prize.
Residents have been embracing the city's 31 parks and green spaces and 15 miles of trails, something Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois says is vital during COVID-19 isolation.
"No matter the time of year, staying active is an important tool for maintaining health and well being," Langlois says. "Taking a brisk walk, cross country skiing if there is snow, and hiking through the trails to observe nature are just a few avenues for us all to take a mental break from the stresses of everyday life."
After a delay, the Dodge Park Ice Rink opened last week with COVID-19 modifications. In an effort to meet current state guidelines skaters need to pre-register to skate at the rink this year, with a limit of 75 skaters per time block. Skate rentals are available for $4 and will only be used once per block of time and will be disinfected prior to the next rental. Masks are required at all times and skaters are required to maintain social distancing while using the facility, including while on the ice.