Baldwin hosts annual Christmas parade

BALDWIN — With the snow beginning to fall, many Lake County residents took to the streets of Baldwin for the city's annual Christmas parade.

The Baldwin High School Marching Band led the way playing some classic holiday tunes, a number of local fire departments and the Lake County Sheriff's Department provided several vehicles for the parade, and groups including the Baldwin Lions, the Girl Scouts and the Lake County Road Commission took part with their own vehicles, floats or costumes.

"It was great, it was wonderful, and it keeps getting better every year," said LeeAnn Russell of the Baldwin Arts and Action Council, who organized the parade.

After the parade, many in the crowd stuck around Baldwin for fun activities.

At the Lake County Historical Society museum, members of the group hosted a workshop after the parade where kids could create their own Christmas tree ornaments. They said they wanted to focus on old fashioned ornaments this year, the kind which their grandparents or great-grandparents could have made using materials found either around the house or in nature such as pine cones, twine and glue.

"We liked giving the kids something traditional to do for Christmas," said Bruce Micinski, president of the historical society. "It ties in nicely with our mission in the historical society so showcase both how Lake County was and is today."

Behind the museum at Wenger Pavilion, kids had the opportunity to meet Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas, while rides in Santa's carriage were available for trips around downtown.

Also at the pavilion were the Men of Purpose from God's True Vine Church. They provided snacks, drinks and hot dogs for families while children waited their turn to visit with Santa.

"We've been cooking hot dogs for the Idlewild parade in the summer for several years, so we expanded to the Christmas parade this year," explained Bill Bomar of the Men of Purpose. "We knew it was going to be cold today so we thought it would be nice to give the kids something hot and substantial to eat after the parade."

The Men of Purpose and several other volunteers also set up a number of Christmas-themed games at the Pleasant Plains Township Hall with snacks and prizes.

Several shops in Baldwin also opened their doors with special sales, treats and attractions for patrons to enjoy and perhaps get a head start on their Christmas shopping.

"We had a wonderful time," remarked Glenn Brooks, who watched the parade with his family. "We were up here for hunting season, but we really had fun today in Baldwin."