CORUNNA — Bright lights and Christmas music filled the downtown streets Friday night as colorful floats, first responders and even Santa Claus took part in the annual Festival of Lights Parade.
The vibrant procession began its march through the city at 6:30 p.m., though many parade-goers kept the festivities going in McCurdy Park, taking in the wide array of holiday lights in and around the Corunna Historical Village.
One display garnering considerable attention was “Phillip’s Magic Christmas Tree,” a 16-foot tall computerized Christmas tree outfitted with more than 3,000 individual lights and capable of executing numerous animated displays. The placement of the digital tree was made possible by the Fernette family, who covered the $4,000 cost in memory of Phillip Michael Fernette, who died at the age of 2 in 1983.
Noticeably absent from Friday’s holiday celebration were the many unique Christmas trees housed inside the Community Center, traditionally decorated by local groups and organizations in what is known as the Festival of Trees. The city was forced to forgo the indoor activities because of the coronavirus.
Nonetheless, city officials placed an emphasis on putting together some form of holiday celebration this year, given the hard times shared by everyone amid the pandemic.
“People are just so shut in, they can’t get out and really do anything (because of COVID-19),” city Planner/Assessor Merilee Lawson said in advance of Friday’s parade. “People just, they need to do something, they need to have something to look at and feel like they’re not pinned in. What better way than Christmas lights and animated displays to put a smile on your face. You can drive through that park 200 times over if you want to to see them. There’s no charge for it and I don’t think there could be a better year to do it.”
The holiday lights will remain on display through the holiday season.