article and photos by Hope Salyer
Christmas music flows through the breeze of the crisp winter air in downtown Stockbridge. The Stockbridge Township Hall is lit up with white Christmas lights. The smell of freshly made kettle corn travels through the air as residents from all around fill the streets awaiting the highly anticipated eighth annual Festival of Lights parade and Christmas tree lighting on Saturday, November 30.
Gordie Kunzelman, the emcee of the night, sparked excitement as The Electric Parade entries arrived at the SAESA building. Local businesses and residents entered into the 2019 Light Parade. The twinkling lights and festive holiday music dazzled a downtown crowd of 600 to 800 attendees. More than 200 Children came away from their visits with Santa in high spirits, as his “nice” list was long this year.
Multiple brightly lit floats, including one from Juel Childcare and Granger, along with Howell Jr Football, rolled past the crowd on downtown Main Street. Floats featured tiny, lighted houses, Disney’s Olaf from Frozen I and II and a painted snow plow. Hot air balloon-fueled heaters on trucks flamed into the sky and warmed the crowd. Local juniors and seniors proudly carried banners declaring the winners of various categories:
Then came another highlight: Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived in a horse-drawn white carriage—a spectacular sight. Santa wished all a Merry Christmas, and the joy of the season could be read on the faces of all in attendance. Children of all ages ended the evening with a lighter heart and refreshed community spirit.
Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce member Geri Uihlein said, “This was made Possible by the Stockbridge downtown development Authority (DDA), Stockbridge Area Chamber of Commerce, Village of Stockbridge and the Stockbridge Township working together. Look for more of these collaborative community events. With this working collaboration our community can achieve anything.”