By Matt Mackinder
Clarkston News Editor
CLARKSTON — Coming up on Dec. 9, downtown Clarkston will be filled with people for the annual Clarkston Christmas Market and Holiday Lights Parade.
The market, taking place at Depot Park, runs 4-8 p.m. before the parade, hosted and put on by Clarkston High School’s Team Rush 27 Robotics program, takes over Main Street. Both events are free to the public.
“It means the world to see the community come together to celebrate the holidays in downtown Clarkston,” said Team Rush 27 coach Kyle Hughes. “I remember when we were the first in-person Clarkston event after COVID and how nice it was to see everyone together. It is a great event with the opportunity for youngsters to go to the end of the parade at Calvary (Lutheran Church) to see Santa, get photos, cookies and hot chocolate, and see the tree lighting at Calvary as well as all the excitement with the market in Depot Park.
“It has been wonderful to see everyone contribute to the day of the parade.”
Laura Rodgers, co-chair of the market with Amy Wilson, said “’tis the season to be jolly.”
“What better way to spread the holiday cheer than by immersing yourself in the enchanting world of a bigger and better small-town vintage Christmas Market right here in Clarkston presented by the City of the Village of Clarkston,” Rodgers said. “This year, our beloved market has undergone a magical transformation, promising a festive experience like never before. One of the most delightful aspects of the Clarkston Christmas Market is its focus on family-friendly, free-of-charge entertainment. Children of all ages will be captivated by the variety of games and activities that await them. Whether it’s children’s games, Farmer Mark Sanford’s tractor rides, or s’mores beside a fire, there’s no shortage of fun to be had.”
Rodgers added that food trucks, local vendors, pony rides and writing letters to Santa are part of this year’s fun. Santa himself will be at the park’s gazebo to take photos with children.
“This year, our market boasts an even more extensive array of vendors, each offering unique treasures and timeless classics,” said Rodgers. “Visitors just might find that ever-elusive, perfect gift for their loved ones or a delightful treat for themselves. It is a haven for artisans, local craftsmen, and boutique sellers, providing an excellent opportunity to support small businesses and find that special something for your loved ones.
“At the Christmas Market, it’s not just a feast for your eyes but a tantalizing journey for your taste buds, making every visit a truly magical experience. In embracing the spirit of the season, Clarkston’s Christmas Market is not just an event, it’s a celebration of community, creativity, and joy.”
Hughes noted that the parade already has twice as many entries as last year at this time.
“You will see floats, walkers, dogs, a mini-pony, and smiles everywhere,” Hughes said. “The theme is ‘Snowglobe Spectacular,’ so we hope people really push the theme in their entries. There are awards, too, for the entries of the parade for different categories.
“I believe this is our 13th parade, and we are excited to do it. The RUSH students and mentors meet and discuss how the Santa float will look with the theme. Everyone works on it during the full two weeks before the parade. It is special because it is a team event and project, and everyone comes together.”
PHOTO: Santa makes his appearance at the tail end of the 2022 Holiday Lights Parade down Main Street in downtown Clarkston. File photo: Matt Mackinder