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Lighting the night

Holiday parade returns to downtown

Photo by Deb Gau Vendors offered light-up wands and glasses to people gathered on Main Street for the Light Up the Night parade on Friday. The parade, which went from downtown to Independence Park, returned after being put on hold by COVID-19 last year.

MARSHALL — The streetlights had gone dark, but that wasn’t a bad thing for the people setting up lawn chairs on the sidewalks of Main Street Friday evening. The darkness made the line of trucks, floats and parade marchers covered in strings of lights stand out as they traveled up the street.

“It’s nice to be able to do this again,” Melissa DeBaere said.

DeBaere was downtown with family and friends, waiting to see the lighted holiday parade kicking off the Light Up the Night event in Marshall. DeBaere and her daughters Brelyn and Adilyn were decked out in light-up necklaces to match the parade.

The parade traveled down Main Street and East Lyon Street, ending with fireworks at Independence Park. Some parade-goers, like Rebecca Thurman and her children, were headed to the park after the parade passed Main Street.

“I love the fireworks,” Alanna Thurman said.

Spectators said it was good to have celebrations like the Light Up the Night parade back after COVID-19 put a hold on many events last year. Last year’s lighted parade was canceled, although organizers were still able to turn on the Christmas lights and have a fireworks display in the park.

“I think it wouldn’t be the holidays without doing the fun stuff,” Jessica Verly said Friday.

Jessica and Kevin Verly said it was their family’s first year checking out the holiday parade.

“It’s nice to have some normalcy,” said LeeAnn Buysse. “This is good to be able to go outside, and we have nice weather for it.”

Temperatures were a little chilly Friday night, but not as cold as they were for parades a couple years ago.

Rebecca Thurman said being able to have local events was important in a small community like Marshall.

“This is really great, especially for the little kids,” Thurman said.

She said younger children especially have been through a lot over the past year, so it was good to have a fun event.

Light displays and other Christmas events will be held at Independence Park now through Dec. 26. Activities like hay wagon rides and visits from Santa will take place tonight and Sunday night at the park.

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