People were lined up nearly two or three deep in downtown Ludington Saturday evening, enjoying Aglow on the Avenue.
It was a marked return to the event on the Saturday following Thanksgiving after not being able to host it a year ago amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think people missed it,” said Jen Tooman, marketing director for Downtown Ludington which hosted the tree-lighting in conjunction with the parade hosted by the Ludington & Scottville Chamber of Commerce. “It feels a bit more festive this year.”
The parade’s entries ranged from the Mason County Road Commission to the Lakeshore Pyrate Heads to Santa Claus himself.
Once the parade passed, members of the Ludington High School choir began to sing near the base of the gigantic tree near the foot of the remade Legacy Plaza that stretches from the intersection of James Street to Ludington Avenue.
As they were singing, the lights of the tree were switched on, drawing a loud “Ooooo” from the crowd along with many cheers. After the choir sang, Ludington High School’s band played a handful of songs from the stage area.
Santa and Mrs. Claus mingled with the crowd as the high school students performed, and they eventually made their way to a under the pavilion at Legacy Plaza.
“Definitely grateful. When you put together events like this and people come out and enjoy them, so it just makes me happy, makes me smile to see people enjoying the night,” Tooman said.
With the event returning after a year away, and the additions of the high school students performing for the tree lighting, it brought many more people to downtown Ludington than in years prior, it seemed.
“It was definitely a good crowd,” Tooman said. “I would have to look back at pictures. I feel like with this intersection (James Street and Ludington Avenue), there’s always a good crowd. But, it looked like it went down blocks in either direction.”
Tooman was grateful for the partnership with the chamber as well as the city’s Department of Public Works that put up the lighting and stringing the lights on the tree with the decorations.
“It’s teamwork. So, when it all comes together and see people enjoy it, it makes all worthwhile,” she said. “The addition of the LHS choir and the band just made the tree-lighting much more festive. I really, really enjoyed that, and I’m hoping that we make that an annual tradition. We’ll see.
“You never know whatever crazy ideas we come up with,” she said with a laugh.