5 Reasons to Visit Lansing This Weekend

SB paradeBe merry, jolly, and bright in the state capitol this weekend!

The 30th annual Silver Bells in the City kicks off Friday evening, Nov. 21, 2014 in downtown Lansing, and there’s a whole weekend’s worth of family fun to be had.

The event is organized by Downtown Lansing Inc. Mindy Biladeau, executive director,  said more than 500 volunteers will work Friday night and that she anticipates over 100,000 spectators to flock to the state capitol.

Biladeau said the end result of eight months of planning has a really “special feeling and energy.” Here are our top five reasons why you should check it out.

  1. Lights, Lights, and More Lights This year’s Electric Light Parade will be one of the biggest with 70 entries and 11 marching bands, all completely decked out in glittering lights. There’s a minimum 5,000-light requirement to even enter the parade, but most go above and beyond that. The parade marks the arrival of Santa Claus, and …
  2. A Mystery Parade Grand Marshal For the first time in parade history, there will be a grand marshal. However, their identity won’t be revealed until the big day. This very special guest is coming all the way from Walt Disney World in Florida. Biladeau wouldn’t spill the secret, but she did confirm that “people will know who it is.” Mouse? Princess? Your guess is as good as ours.
  3. The Sound (and Singing) of Music This year marks the return of the community sing and it’s getting some help from a well-known Detroit choir. The Larry Callahan and Selected of God Choir will help attendees raise their voices to sing two community-selected songs, Silver Bells and Joy to the World. The choir won an Emmy for their performance in the “Born of Fire: Imported from Detroit” Chrysler car commercial, so they’re pretty much amazing. There will also be a performance by New York pop group AJR. The band is made up of three brothers who wrote, recorded, and produced all their own songs in their living room. Their sound is electric and folksy, drawing on musical influences from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and more modern times.
  4. One BIG Tree The majesty of Michigan’s natural resources is on full display with this year’s official state Christmas tree. The 63-foot blue spruce from the city of Kingsford will be strung with an additional 4,000 lights this year, illuminating Capitol Avenue with an estimated total of 8,000 to 9,000 lights. The official tree lighting ceremony includes a fireworks display.
  5. Saturday Morning Sweat Fest Keep the Friday night adrenaline rush going by running in the Silver Bells 5K the next morning. Yet another first, this year’s race will be held on Saturday morning instead of Friday evening. It will also be officially timed, another first.

Race Director Michelle Phillipich says this gives runners a chance to enjoy the parade and Friday festivities. “Now people can really do both,” she said. There are prizes for runners with the best holiday costumes and awards for top finishers. Proceeds raised will benefit Silver Bells and the Chris and Louise Holman Foundation, which helps struggling families put Christmas presents under the tree.

The race is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you’re a member, show your BCBSM card at the Okemos Playmakers store to receive a $5 discount on the $25 registration fee.

So, what makes you want to go to Silver Bells in the City? Who do you think the mystery grand marshal will be? Do tell in the comments!

Be sure to check out our video of last year’s Silver Bells festivities below!

Photo credits: David Shane

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