Santa and thousands of others are getting ready to show up next week in Royal Oak for the annual Holiday Magic Parade.
“Depending on the weather we usually get from 15,000 to 20,000 people,” said Stephanie McIntyre, a spokeswoman for the event organized by the city Downtown Development Authority. “The crowds love seeing the floats from the Parade Company and we also have a few different bands lined up along with circus performers, marching bands, dance troupes and others.”
The Parade Company in Detroit makes the elaborate inflated characters and props for America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit.In Royal Oak the parade will feature more than 80 floats which start rolling at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20 at Lincoln and Washington avenues before heading north to Fourth Street and west to Lafayette, where the parade ends.
“Something new we’ve added this year is Classic K9 dogs that will be in the parade and stop to do stunts and tricks for the crowds,” McIntyre said.
Judy Davids, engagement specialist for the city, is a longtime resident and parade enthusiast who said the event marks the beginning of the holiday season in Royal Oak each year.
"One of the coolest things about the parade is that toys are collected along the parade route by Royal Oak Youth Assistance volunteers," she said. "The toys are then distributed to kids in need right here in our hometown. It’s not just an event that looks good, it feels good, too."
New, unwrapped toys for ROYA are also collected at the Main Stage. ROYA is a non-profit community program established 58 years ago to help children and families in need and reduce delinquency, abuse and neglect.
Now in its 15th year, the parade is presented by Genisys Credit Union, which has a Royal Oak branch at 530 N. Main Street.Jay Towers from 100.3 FM WNIC is the Grand Marshal for the parade again this year, but children can enter a drawing to serve as Junior Grand Marshal of the parade with Towers this year for the first time.Children ages 5 to 12 have to visit the Genisys branch in Royal Oak by Monday to enter. The drawing will be done at 2 p.m. Monday
Besides walking in the parade, the young winner will get covered VIP seating at the event for up to eight guests.OUR Credit Union, with two branches in Royal Oak, has a contest for children who want to ride on the company’s float in the parade.
Children can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus after the parade at Skyward Real Estate, 519 S. Washington, from 3-5 p.m. People are encouraged to bring their cameras and check out the reindeer at the Fifth Street walkway between Washington and Lafayette avenues. About 15 restaurants in downtown Royal Oak begin their month-long Kids Eat Free! specials on the day of the Holiday Magic Parade. Kids eat free at participating restaurants with the purchase of an adult meal. Details are available online at DineRoyalOak.org.