Santa heads to Midland on Nov. 20

Bells will be ringing this weekend as thrilled organizers bring back one of Midland’s most treasured holiday traditions — the Santa Parade. And after Thanksgiving, doors of the Santa House will swing open to wide-eyed children.

“We are so happy to be back. Last year was so hard on everyone. The parade is a local tradition for many families, generations,” says Nicki Smith, Midland Santa Parade co-chair. “It was hard on the community not to have the parade. It’s a huge family event.”

This year's parade theme is “Let’s Celebrate.”Last year, parade organizers canceled the parade due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, they were given the green light in October to hold the parade. Organizers quickly began to prepare for the event.

Midland’s Santa Holiday Parade will be held Saturday, Nov. 20 with Midland’s WMPX/WMRX announcing. The parade’s theme is “Let’s Celebrate.”

Beginning at 10 a.m., the parade will start at Midland High School and make its way down Saginaw Street to Ashman, then downtown on Main Street toward Dow Diamond, where the parade route will end.

Midland’s Santa Holiday Parade will be held Saturday, Nov. 20.Smith says she anticipates streets to “be lined up with families and people of all ages.” 

The crowd will be able to see dozens of parade floats and entrants that include nonprofit organizations, clubs, churches, a variety of businesses and a float by the Midland Center for the Arts. There will not be a grand marshall because of the quick time frame, but a special guest will appear.

“Santa is definitely the highlight,” says Smith.

Midland’s Santa House and Courthouse Lighting on Nov. 27

The Santa House is located at the corner of M-20 and Main Street.Santa’s local journey will also include his trek over the Tridge, which starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27. He will head over to the Santa House and Courthouse where both will be lit up in true holiday spirit. The Santa House will be open daily from Nov. 27 to Dec. 23.

The Santa House, located at the corner of M-20 and Main Street, was built in 1987 with assistance from the Midland Area Community Foundation (MACF) and its donors. It continues to operate annually due to the donation of time from volunteers and to endowed funds held at MACF that support the yearly operation of the house.

As in past years, volunteers will be asked to facilitate visits with Santa by stepping into the role of “elf.” Volunteers can either help in the Santa House or with the Northern Star Train that travels up and down Main Street. 

The Northern Star Train will be operational throughout the Santa House season except on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3.“The individuals who graciously donate their time are a key component of operating the Santa House,” says Sharon Mortensen, president and CEO of MACF.

What you need to know before you go to Santa House

The Santa House will be exclusively walk-in on all days other than Tuesdays and Thursdays. Appointments to see Santa on Tuesday and Thursday will be released at 10 a.m. on Mondays for Santa House visits taking place the following week. For example,  if you would like a reservation to see Santa on Nov. 30, you will be able to reserve your spot on Nov. 22.

A protective barrier will remain between visitors and Santa.The Northern Star Train will be operational throughout the Santa House season except on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3.

COVID-19 considerations:
 
  • Masks are recommended for all Santa House visitors except children under the age of 2
  • All Santa House volunteers are required to wear a mask
  • Limited numbers of Santa House visitors will be allowed in at one time
  • A protective barrier will remain between visitors and Santa
  • Children will not be permitted to sit on Santa’s lap
  • The Santa House will be disinfected thoroughly between visits
  • Masks are required on the Northern Star Train

To see the full schedule of dates and times or to volunteer, visit midlandfoundation.org/santahouse or call 989-839-9661.

Read more articles by Erika M. Hirschman.

A veteran freelance writer and former reporter with The Midland Daily News, Erika Hirschman has covered a wide array of topics in Midland County including education, human interest, local government and crime. Erika holds a journalism degree from Marygrove College/University of Detroit-Mercy.

 

Erika is an award-winning reporter, and has written for various newspapers and magazines in the state. When she’s not writing, Erika loves to read and travel, dance in her kitchen with her family and two dogs, and advocates for cancer treatment and research. She’s lived in Saginaw County for 25 years.