2017-11-30 / Front Page

Mackinaw City Christmas Tree Lighting Is Saturday

By Erich T. Doerr

There will be holiday cheer in Mackinaw City on Saturday, December 2, as the community hosts its annual tree decorating at 11 a.m. at the Mackinaw City Recreation Complex and its Christmas in Mackinaw celebration at noon in the Mackinaw Area Historical Society’s Heritage Village at the McGulpin Point Lighthouse. Admission is free.

This is the fourth year for holiday festivities at Heritage Village and the lighthouse. The family-focused events are scheduled to run until about 4 p.m. Those attending the Heritage Village portion of the celebration should use the northern West Central Avenue entrance leading to its eastern parking lot.

“This gets the holiday spirit started,” Historical Society President Cathy Freebairn said.

The lighthouse, built in 1869 and in service through 1906, will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and again on Sunday, December 3. Santa Claus will visit the lighthouse from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday to meet with children. The lighthouse will be decorated to replicate the way it could have looked during the holidays in the years it was active.

Heritage Village festivities will go on no matter what the weather. Stoves will be lighted to warm visitors to the Pest House and the oneroom Freedom School. The Pest House will serve as a warming station throughout the day.

Horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides, available to visitors from noon until 2 p.m., will loop through the village, where several buildings will be decorated for Christmas. A children’s craft project will be available in the schoolhouse from 2 p.m. until 2:45 p.m.

Festivities will conclude with a 3 p.m. Christmas music program, featuring traditional carols, in the village’s Heritage Chapel. Reid Nelson of the Mackinaw City Bible Church will present the invocation. Upper Peninsula pianist Jacob Sturtevant will accompany the audience singing.

After the music program, hot chocolate, coffee, and homemade cookies will be served to guests. Refreshments, including cookies, also will be available at buildings in Heritage Village throughout Saturday’s festivities.

In the second-annual tree decorating, at 11 a.m. in the West Central Avenue recreation complex, the goal will be to adorn 70 real trees to be placed around the community as festive tributes to the season. Mr. Claus will visit during the decorating.

“Bring your imagination,” advised Mackinaw City staff secretary Janelle Bancroft.

Mackinaw City’s Department of Public Works and Downtown Development Authority organize the tree decorating effort, which grew out of discussions about how to decorate the village in a style befitting the holidays. After deciding to use festive trees, they decided to make decorating them a public endeavor.

The trees will be adorned with lights and ornaments held on with wire ties to prevent them being knocked off by windy or bad weather. The finished trees will be placed about the village in groups of two or three. Last year, some participants added their own decorations to those on the trees. They are permitted to do that again this year, but should be aware their items will then be on display throughout the holiday season, organizers say.

Mrs. Bancroft said the village seeks volunteers to help set up at the recreation center for the tree decorating. Those interested can contact the village hall at (231) 436-5351. The recreation complex concession stand will be open during the decorating.

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