Let there be light(s)!

Clarkston News Staff Writer
Students on Team RUSH 27 Robotics are thinking about the holidays and toys as the 20th annual Holiday Lights Parade returns to downtown Clarkston on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. with this year’s theme as Toyland in C-Town.
“RUSH is super excited to get the parade going again. To think that the last parade in Clarkston was the Holiday Lights Parade in 2019 and we can be the first parade back from the pandemic is a very strange feeling,” said Kyle Hughes, Team RUSH Leader and Parade Co-Organizer. “We all need something fun and positive in our lives right now and we hope the community comes out and enjoys the parade.”
“I’m excited,” shared Allison Kirk, one of the returning students on Team RUSH. “It will be nice to go back to a normal event and have some fun. I’m looking forward to seeing Santa coming down the road and to hear all the cheering and excitement.”

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus wave to parade goers. File photo by Mark Kelly

She added helping run the parade means she gets to provide the community with something special. :
“I’m excited to be getting back to the traditions RUSH and Clarkston has as a whole,” said Joe McGowen, a returning student. “We’ve lost many things throughout the pandemic. I’m excited to be getting this one thing back. I always love when we get to see all the floats lined up for the first time. Everything comes together, and everyone in the community gets to see their float in the lineup.”
Floats arrive and line up from 4 – 4:45 p.m. The floats are judged from 5 – 5:45 p.m. before the parade begins at 6 p.m. Awards are given for: Most Creative STEM Float, Clarkston Schools Wolf Pride, Best Use of Lights or Music, Best Holiday Spirit, Best Use of Theme and Best Overall Entry.
Team RUSH is students are excited to work on their float.
“My favorite part of building the float is just working together and coming together as a team to pick out themes and designs,” said Anna Cook, a returning member on the team.
“I always like working with my hands, so when we get an opportunity to build something like this it gives me a good chance to be creative alongside my teammates,” added Adam Walsh.
Luke Jeung, a new student, added he is excited for what it gives him and the other new students.
“The training it supplies for new students who don’t know the design process it will become a great learning experience,” Jeung explained.
Finn Berard, another new student, added he hasn’t built a float before.
“I have reservations from my experiences on RUSH that lead me to this – I think my favorite part of building the float will be, well, actually building it,” he said. “Putting it together alongside my teammates to make something high-quality and something we all can be extremely proud of.”
The parade begins at Renaissance High School, goes to Church Street, heads north on M-15 before it turns onto Miller. Then, goes on Glenburie, turns onto Snowflake and ends at Calvary Lutheran Church.
“My favorite moment of the parade, aside from all the hustle and bustle at RHS beforehand, is just before the parade starts,” Hughes shared. “I leave RHS and wait for our veterans to lead the parade up the hill and into Clarkston. It is a very moving moment. To then see them walk around the corner onto Main Street and everyone starts cheering is amazing.”
Hughes shared due to COVID they will not have food in the warming room for those who enjoyed treats while warming up in the past.
“Instead, Calvary will host treats outdoors at the end of the parade when Santa lights the Christmas tree,” she added.
Registration for the parade is on www.teamrush27.net by clicking on the Holiday Lights registration link.

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