‘Family Game Night’ Lighted Christmas Parade is Dec. 7
By Jim Newell
While the Yuletide season may be a couple of months away, now is the time to nominate a deserving person as the Citizen of the Year for the annual Orion Lighted Christmas Parade.
Citizen of the Year
The Orion Area Parade Group (OAPG) hosts the lighted parade in downtown Lake Orion and selects one person to honor with their Citizen of the Year designation.
This individual is nominated by the Lake Orion community and voted upon by the OAPG board. The designee has the honor of riding in one of the first cars to lead the parade.
The parade group is now accepting nominations for the honor. Nominees must be a township or village resident who is involved in the community. That involvement must be non-political in nature, not job related and not a paid position, said Bill Kokenos, president of the parade group board.
An on-line application can be completed at http://orionlightedparade.org/coy2019.html. The deadline for submission is Nov. 1. The nominee will be selected and notified in November.
This year’s theme is “A Family Game Night Christmas” and Kokenos and the parade group hope that participants theme their floats and costumes from board games, old or new, like Monopoly, Candyland, Sorry, Clue or Chess.
“The theme is about getting the kids and parents off the electronic stuff and doing board games together as a family,” Kokenos said.
Last year there were 125 illuminated entries in the parade, from bands, floats, dignitaries and dancers to school groups, community organizations and businesses, each shinning their holiday light on hundreds of spectators.
The parade is capped off by a visit by Santa in his resplendent sleigh.
“We already have four marching bands – Lake Orion, Notre Dame Prep, Anthony Wayne Band from Ohio, Bentley High School marching band and Oakland Christian from Auburn Hills – and we’re expect more,” Kokenos said.
“We did some investigating and, as far as we know, we are the biggest lighted paraded in the state of Michigan,” said Kokenos.
The Orion Lighted Christmas Parade has been a Lake Orion tradition for more than 20 years. The OAPG is non-profit and is staffed by volunteers who count on the support of the community to bring this event to town each year.
The parade group is looking for volunteers to help at the parade. Anyone with questions about the parade, including sponsors and volunteers, can contact Kokenos directly at 248-802-5521.
The parade travels from Blanche Sims Elementary School through downtown Lake Orion to the Ehman Center on Elizabeth Street. After the Parade, Santa welcomes visitors at Lake Orion Village Hall for photos and refreshments.
Kokenos said the parade group welcomes anyone who wants to participate, but there are two rules to which participants must adhere: “No one can depict Santa Clause, and they’re not allowed to throw or hand out anything (like candy) during the parade…because it’s a night parade,” Kokenos said.
Holly Jolly Folly
The Holly Jolly Folly – hosted each year by Golling Buick GMC at its Lapeer Road location – is the signature fundraiser for the Orion Area Christmas Lighted Parade. This year’s Holly Jolly Folly is Dec. 6, with all of the proceeds benefiting the parade.
Tickets for the Holly Jolly Folly go on sale in November at Golling Buick GMC,
“Get your tickets early, because we’ve been sold out the last four years,” Kokenos said. Italia Gardens is catering the event, Kokenos said.
Funds raised through ticket sales, a silent auction and raffles helps fund the costs the Orion Area Parade Group incurs to deliver a fun-filled lighted parade each year.
For information on signing up to participate in the parade, to volunteer or for sponsorship packages, visit orionlightedparade.org.