GRAND LEDGE, Mich. (WLNS) – Trucks, buses, semi-trailers (and for the most attentive, an actual WLNS truck) and vehicles of all kinds wrapped in lights made their way through downtown Grand Ledge Friday night. It was 51street Grand Ledge’s annual Christmas Night Lights Parade.
With hundreds of people in the area to celebrate, it was an opportunity to welcome the holiday season and support the community.
“Our two oldest daughters are in the parade with their dance class,” the Glover family said. “So it’s pretty exciting.”
Ella Stephenson exclaimed, “Our friend Madelyn will be in the parade and will be riding a horse.”
Excitement was building before the parade began, as the city center was bustling with activity.
“Here in the library we have the Beagle Middle School carolers who are going to sing; a model train display, gingerbread kits and lots of fun activities,” said Stefanie Black, Grand Ledge Area District Library marking coordinator.
A few meters away, at the historic Grand Ledge Opera House. That’s where the Grand Ledge Rotary Chili Cook-off was spicing things up.
Eaton County Commissioner Blake Mulder was one of the contestants. He was serving three different versions of venison chili.
“We’ve been here for at least 25 years, always during the parade,” Mulder told 6 News. “It’s a great community event. “People come out and watch the parade and then come in and enjoy some delicious chili.”
Former Eaton County Sheriff and State Senator Rick Jones was also present. He is running for supervisor in neighboring Oneida Township.
“My favorite part is serving people,” he said. “We have a venison chili. “We have a spicier chili, all kinds of options here tonight.”
In addition to feasting on competing chili peppers, the community had the opportunity to write a letter to Santa Claus, enjoy barbecue, popcorn (and, of course, hot chocolate) while staying warm at the Plaza’s fire pit. And as the parade prepared to begin, the Grand Ledge Christmas tree was the first to light up Bridge St.