Scenes from the Parade of Lights in downtown Holland, Michigan on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. The parade sponsored by Gentex Corporation had around 75 entries. (Joel Bissell | MLive.com)Joel Bissell | MLive.com
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — If the wintry weather has you in a Christmas mood already, West Michigan is ready to celebrate with you during a host of parades, performances and markets.
From the Grand Rapids Santa Parade to America’s tallest signing Christmas tree in Muskegon, the area has a variety of options ahead of the holiday season.
Below is a list by municipality of holiday-themed events this year:
Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids Santa Parade – 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19: The parade starts on Michigan Street NW, then heads south on Monroe Avenue, turns onto Louis Street and ends on Ottawa Avenue. Performances by the Grand Rapids Symphony and Academy of Dance Arts start at 11:30 a.m. in Rosa Parks Circle, followed by free photos with Santa on the front porch of the Grand Rapids Art Museum at 11:45 a.m.
Christmas Lite Show in Comstock Park – Nov. 23- Dec. 31: Get in the Christmas spirit with the 24th annual Christmas Lite Show in Comstock Park. The show donates to the Grand Rapids Veterans Home and hosts over 50,000 visitors each year. Tickets available at christmasliteshow.com/tickets.
“Hip Hop Nutcracker” at DeVos Performance Hall – 7 p.m. Nov. 27: Enjoy the classic Nutcracker story with a diverse cast and set in modern-day New York City with this retelling of the ballet. Tickets start at $35 and are available at devosperformancehall.com/events.
Grand Rapids Symphony Holiday Pops concerts – 7 p.m. Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3: Join the Grand Rapids Symphony for its popular University of Michigan Health-West Holiday Pops concerts at the DeVos Performance Hall. The concerts include the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, the Grand Rapids Youth Chorus, Embellish Handbell Ensemble and featured soloist Denzal Sinclaire. Tickets are available at grsymphony.org/holiday-pops.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Van Andel Arena – 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4: The progressive rock band will perform its Christmas show, called “Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” twice in Grand Rapids. Tickets available at vanandelarena.com/events.
Grand Rapids Ballet’s “Nutcracker” at DeVos Performance Hall – Dec. 9, 10 and 11 and Dec. 16, 17 and 18: Enjoy the Grand Rapids Ballet’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” during the weekends of Dec. 9 and Dec. 16 at DeVos Performance Hall. The performances feature choreography by Val Caniparoli and an immersive set. Tickets are available at devosperformancehall.com/events.
Kentwood
Holiday light parade and tree lighting ceremony – 6 p.m. Dec. 1: The annual Kentwood parade and tree lighting starts with the parade, beginning at the Kentwood Public Works parking lot and ending at the Kentwood Justice Center. The tree lighting follows the parade in front of the Kentwood library, including carriage rides, crafts for kids, a luminary walk and Santa.
Coopersville
42nd annual Christmas parade – 6 p.m. Dec. 2: This year’s parade theme is Christmas stories, and it starts at the Pocket Park. The community Christmas tree will be lit before the parade starts. After the parade, there will be hot cocoa, coffee, cookies and Santa at the Community Service Building.
A horse with a decorated mane walks down the street during the 100th anniversary Santa Parade, in downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019.Kayla Renie | MLive.com
Hudsonville
Holiday parade and tree lighting – 6 p.m. Nov. 19: The 29th annual holiday parade now has a new route through downtown Hudsonville. The parade starts at 6 p.m. and is immediately followed by the Christmas tree lighting in the Gemmen’s parking lot.
Rockford
Santa parade – 11 a.m. Dec. 3: Enjoy more than 60 parade floats during the annual Rockford Santa parade, which winds through downtown Rockford. Santa will ride in a white carriage, then hear children’s Christmas lists at the Rockford Rotary Pavilion after the parade. The parade features free photos, milk and cookies and goody bags for children.
Grandville
Christmas at the Commons – 5 p.m. Dec. 3: Enjoy the “stationary parade” on Chicago Drive with floats, holiday animals, carolers and musicians. There will be Rudolph train rides, food vendors, a mini-Christmas market and a synthetic ice rink. The tree lighting takes place at 5:30 p.m. with the help of the Grandville High School marching band. All activities are free except skate rental, which is $5.
Cedar Springs
Mingle with Kris Kringle – 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Dec. 3: Go to story time with Mrs. Claus at Perry’s Place, then enjoy the Christmas parade and tree lighting in Cedar Springs. End the day with photos with Santa by the fireplace in the Cedar Springs Public Library.
Muskegon
Festival of wreaths – Nov. 22-Dec. 11: Explore downtown Muskegon and pick your favorite designer wreath on display at participating businesses. All wreaths are available to purchase. To bid, scan the QR code next to the wreath. A walking map with the locations of all the wreaths is available at muskegonartmuseum.org.
Christmas tree lighting – 4:30 p.m. Nov. 26: Head to Hackley Park for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, starting with Mayor Ken Johnson giving Santa a key to the city. Reindeers will be at the park and Santa will be at Hackley Library for photos until 7:30 p.m. There will be hot cocoa and cookies at the park, which has holiday light displays and decorations.
America’s tallest singing Christmas tree – Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 2 and 3: Visit “America’s tallest singing Christmas tree” at the Frauenthal Center at 7 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and 2 and at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Dec. 3. The event features over 200 Mona Shores High School choir students, who stand in a 67-foot-tall tree covered with over 25,000 Christmas lights, and orchestra students.
Grand Haven
Jingle bell parade – 6 p.m. Dec. 3: The 30th annual jingle bell parade starts on Franklin Street, goes west to Harbor Drive, then north on Harbor to Washington and east on Washington to Central Park for the Christmas tree lighting following the parade. The parade features floats, music and costumes along with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Zeeland
Turkey Trot – 8 a.m. Nov. 24: The 8K race starts in the middle of downtown Zeeland in front of Frank’s Restaurant and takes turkey trotters through Zeeland neighborhoods. The race is capped at 1,500 runners. Dogs are not allowed, but strollers are welcome. Register for the race at zeelandturkeytrot.com.
Zeeland tuba Christmas and magical Christmas parade – 5:30 p.m. Nov. 28: Start the evening with tuba Christmas at City Hall at 5:30 p.m., then head to the Splash Pad Park at 6:15 p.m. for the tree lighting ceremony. The magical Christmas parade starts in downtown Zeeland at 6:30 p.m., featuring area marching bands and Santa.
Holland
Holiday Kerstmarkt (Christmas market) – Starts Nov. 19: The traditional European-style market is held each year at the Eighth Street Marketplace in downtown Holland. The market runs from Nov. 19 through Dec. 10, with varying times. The Kerstmarkt features handbell concerts Nov. 19 and 25 and Dec. 9. There will be dogsled demonstrations Dec. 3 and 10 and a Sinterklaas (Santa) procession at the market at 6:15 p.m. Dec. 2.
Parade of Lights – 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29: The annual holiday parade features 75 floats, trucks, marching bands and cars, all escorting Santa. The parade begins at the corner of Eighth Street and Columbia Avenue and goes west on Eighth Street to the Holland Civic Center.
Magic at the Mill – Dec. 2-17: This new event at Holland’s Windmill Island Gardens features glittering lights and thousands of LED tulips. The event is open 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from Dec. 2 through Dec. 17. A synchronized light and music show is planned, along with snacks and beverages. The Windmill Island shops will be open. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.
More from MLive:
Santa parade returns to downtown Grand Rapids after two-year COVID hiatus
West Michigan microbrewery to close after nearly a decade
Winter storm warning issued for West Michigan, lasting into Saturday
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