Tonight, the streets of Whiting were aglow with twinkling lights. Local storefronts, festive with decorations, welcomed shoppers with offers of potential gift ideas as Whiting, Indiana kicked off the holiday season with their annual Illuminated Christmas Parade. But what really lit up the town was the warmth and joy seen reflected in the eyes of the hundreds of people who lined the town’s downtown streets to enjoy the festivities.
“We’re always trying to do something different,” said Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura. “We had a great crowd here last year and we want people to keep coming back, so we opened it up a bit, added some more lights and a few new activities.”
The mayor says that Whiting is known well for doing summer events, and they wanted to continue that community involvement throughout the holiday season.
“We’ve found that people really enjoy this, and we’re really happy to offer it to them,” said Mayor Stahura.
Held each year on the first Friday of December, the parade starts at 119th Street and Davis Avenue, and inches its way along the main drag, featuring dozens of floats, some lighted and some even with animated displays, to the delight of young and old alike. Sirens blared as fire engines rumbled by, accompanied by the sounds of local marching bands. Even Santa and his reindeer made an appearance.
The parade ended in front of Whiting’s historic City Hall, for the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Hundreds enjoyed refreshments and applauded as Mayor Joe Stahura happily threw the switch, welcoming the holiday season to the little city by the lake.
“We loved the Tumbling Elves!” said Cheryl Maio of Schererville, who brought her 6 year old daughter, Emily. “Whiting has such a wonderful little hometown feel to it. In a big city, you don’t get this type of ambience - the little shops, the hot chocolate - it’s just such a nice place!”
Emily, 9 from Chicago was enjoying the parade with her friends, Annamarie, 12, and Melisa, 12.
“We liked seeing the reindeer,” said Emily. “And we really want to meet Santa!”
They know exactly what they want for Christmas, too.
“I want a phone!” said Annamarie and Melisa.
“I just want some Slime,” smiled Emily.
The event is a lead-in to Whiting’s next big holiday event as the city prepares to welcome everyone back for the annual Small Town Christmas event on Saturday, December 9, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Visitors on that day can enjoy breakfast with Mrs. Claus at Winey Beach Cafe and can even have their photo taken with Santa at the Whiting/Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce. Then be sure to grab tickets for the Winter Warm Up Walking Tour up and down 119th Street and a chance to see live reindeer.
Mark Harbin, director of special events for the city of Whiting. “This is a great way to kick off the holiday season here in Whiting. It’s illuminated, so it almost has a Disney-esque feel to it. We’re happy to welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus back again this year, and we have our dancing Frosty the Snowmen here this year, too.”
Amy Fretz, Director of Communications says that the Iluminated Christmas Parade is a long-standing event which has really grown over the years.
“We have local merchants involved now. We’re holding a contest for best-decorated window display here this year. People can go to our website, www.whitingindiana.com and they can vote for their favorite display,” said Fretz.
“And don’t forget our Small Town Christmas event next weekend,” said Harbin. “We’ll have more photo opportunities, Breakfast with Mrs. Claus and we are just happy to welcome people here and we would like to see them back again and again this holiday season, and throughout the year.”
Whiting, IN 46394
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