Mason Holidays Celebration

CREATED Nov 7, 2013

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Every year about this time, the city of Mason sets up their “Big Santa” and mailbox at the corner of Jefferson and Maple Streets, puts up their holiday decorations on downtown streetlights, and area merchants start to offer holiday values. These are the signs that Mason is getting ready for Friday, November 29, the day after Thanksgiving. Only a few weeks before Christmas, the community holds its annual Mason Holidays Celebration that Friday afternoon and evening.

This year the traditional Christmas tree lighting will once again be with the “Big Tree” in front of the Ingham County Courthouse. Thanks to BlueGrass Lawn & Landscape and Express Tree Service, new LED light strings were purchased and installed on the tree. Net proceeds of the annual Mason Area Chamber of Commerce Raffle (ML#R21540) went toward partially funding the costs.

Last year, a smaller, cut tree was lit at the corner of Maple and Jefferson Streets. “The live tree in front of the Ingham County Courthouse was just too large for the City of Mason to decorate with the existing lights and equipment last year,” said Aleasha Wood of Inspired Events, chair of the celebration for the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce. “After last year’s event, the business community stepped up once again to restore the tree lighting to the big, live tree this year.” She also encourages local folks to help with the events by volunteering.

Jenny Bond of the Mason Rotary Club and 2013 Mason Citizen of the Year will officially give the order to light the Christmas tree on the west side of Courthouse Square at 6:30 p.m. Also, earlier in the evening starting at 6:00 p.m., in the downtown near the tree, will be a welcome by the City of Mason Mayor Leon Clark, music from the Mason High School Santa Band, and more.

The United States Marines will have a “Toys for Tots” collection station near the Big Santa at Courthouse Square during the afternoon and evening. Food and warm drinks will be available on the square from Mason A&W Restaurant, Mason Optimist Club and several downtown businesses. The Mason First United Methodist Church at 201 E. Ash Street will have hot chocolate and sweet treats starting at 6:30 p.m. Mason’s lighting of the community’s Christmas tree and evening lighted parade at 6:30 p.m. are the biggest of the several events slated, but that’s not all that is happening in Mason.

Also on Friday, November 29, the Ingham County Fair Foundation and the Ingham County Fairgrounds will host a “Winter Fest” at the fairgrounds, 700 E. Ash Street in Mason. Starting at 3:00 p.m., the event will feature a craft show, family make-and-takes, Christmas tree auction conducted by Sheridan Realty & Auction, food, and beverages -- all in the heated Main Arena building.

The fun continues until 9:00 p.m. with Elliot Amusements carnival rides, the Mason Orchestral Society’s chamber ensemble, and lighted hay rides. There will be free parking and admission for the event. Donation stations will be set up at the Fairgrounds Main Arena for Toys for Tots and the Capital Area Community Services’ Mason Food Bank. Special “Holidays Celebration” fireworks will begin at 8:45 p.m. in front of the grandstand.

For many years, Dart Container Corporation has been presenting sponsor of the Mason Holiday Celebration. “We are proud to have Dart Container sponsor the parade and the day’s events again this year. We also thank the City of Mason for allowing us to start the parade in the Bond Park parking lot,” said Aleasha Wood. Last year, the parade featured over 40 units, including a special float of the Mackinac Bridge from Dart Container.

“The City of Mason is an important partner. They help by closing streets and providing traffic coordination. We are again responding to their requirement for improved public safety this year by letting parade participants know that they are not to throw candy or get on or off any unit that is in motion,” Aleasha Wood added.

The lighted parade steps off at 6:30 p.m., but for the first time ever from Bond Park. From there it goes south one block on Barnes, west on Sycamore, and then south on Jefferson. The parade then circles the Courthouse by turning left on Ash, Barnes and Maple Street before ending in the 100 block of east Maple. Some street-legal units may choose to head east on Ash to go out to the Ingham County Fairgrounds for the Winter Fest (see separate article).

Lighted parade units will represent many area groups and businesses and include Dart Container Corporation, the Lions Air Force, Mason Fire Department, CADL, Two Men and a Truck, CP Federal Credit Union, R&R Travel, Habitat for Humanity, BlueGrass Lawn & Landscape, Girl Scouts - Heart of Michigan, ServiceMaster, TomCo Asphalt, Granger, and many more lighted vehicles and floats. Members of Mason’s American Legion Browne/Cavender Post 148 will be on hand to keep the parade organized. Mason RailTime Adventures will also have their kiddie rides and games at the corner of Barnes and Ash before and during the parade.

Visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Mason Area Historical Museum for younger children. They will then join the parade and meet up afterward with Mason Area Historical Society members who will take them back over to the Museum at 200 E. Oak Street to meet with older children and families.

Information on all events is available by e-mailing masonchamber@masonchamber.org or calling (517) 676-1046. For the most recent information, click on “Community Events” at www.masonchamber.org or tune in to Channel 21 on Mason’s WOW! cable system.