Downtown Baldwin set to celebrate Santa's return

14th annual parade scheduled for Saturday

Santa Claus is set to make his return to downtown Baldwin for the city's 14th annual parade on Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

Santa Claus is set to make his return to downtown Baldwin for the city's 14th annual parade on Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

BALDWIN — Count Lee Ann Russell among those who didn't mind seeing an unseasonal snowfall in Lake County this week.

The white stuff is sure to add a little extra magic to the city's 14th annual Santa Parade on Saturday, she said.

"(Snow) is what makes Christmas," said Russell, the chairperson of the Baldwin Area Arts and Action Council, which organizes the weekend's festivities. "We did have a parade one year that was snowed out — we don't want that much. But what we have now, it should be wonderful. I can't wait."

In addition to snow, Christmas spirit, live music and winter fun are on the menu, starting at 1 p.m. on Michigan Avenue, where the parade will proceed south from the Lake County courthouse before turning at Lake Street and heading toward Wenger Pavilion. The parade will be led by longtime area businessman and grand marshal, Mark Cole, and also will include a local band, floats, walkers, and of course, Santa Claus.

"We've had momentum as the years have gone on — every year, the parade has grown," Russell said. "Everybody is in sync with it. The streets will be decorated and the kids will be out. It'll be a lot of fun."

After the parade, Old Saint Nick will greet kids and their parents at the pavilion while a bevy of activities take place around the village. Hot dogs and cocoa will be provided, free of charge, by the Men of Purpose group. The Lake County Historical Museum will host an ornament-making workshop and participants will be able to take their artwork home. In the Baldwin Business Center, MSU Extension will have an opportunity for families to decorate their own sugar cookies and gingerbread men.

Wagon rides around town will be available following the parade. Russell, who owns the Fabric Peddler store in downtown Baldwin, said the event serves as an opportunity for businesses in the area to get out in front of consumers before a busy holiday season.

"We always encourage people to shop local, and this event does a lot to help with that. Most of the businesses in this area have sales in anticipation of it," Russell said.

As of Wednesday, the council still has opportunities for individuals, local businesses, civic organizations, churches, youth and scouting groups and clubs to participate in the parade. Call Russell at (231) 745-4500 to reserve a spot.