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Christmas takes over downtown Mount Pleasant, brings community together

A truck covered in lights drives by the crowd at the Christmas Lights Parade on Dec. 1 on Broadway Street in downtown Mount Pleasant.

The holiday season took over downtown Mount Pleasant this weekend, creating a sense of community despite a cold, rainy Saturday.

The city of Mount Pleasant held its 25th annual Christmas Celebration on Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1. 

Michelle Sponseller, downtown development director of Mount Pleasant, said the city puts on the event to bring the community together.

“(The events’) sole purpose is to bring joy and entertainment to our community members,” she said.

Events and activities were held on both Friday and Saturday, including hayrides through downtown, a morning 5K run, breakfast with Santa and a live reindeer petting zoo. 

However, the more prominent events were the Christmas tree lighting, the lighted Christmas parade and the fireworks show.

The lighted Christmas parade was on Saturday and lasted for about half an hour, with many local businesses and organizations participating. The parade flowed through downtown, traversing South Main Street and East Broadway Street.

Cars and floats covered with Christmas lights held people who tossed out candy to the children in the crowd.

Some of the participants had unique ways of participating. Mid Valley Structures, a storage building company, towed a massive shed decked out with lights and Christmas decorations. 

Motorless Motion was represented by people who braved the cold, riding bikes strung with lights.

While the weather was rainy and below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for most of the night, it did not stop the parade or fireworks.

“Mother Nature absolutely put us through the ringer,” Sponseller said. “When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t sure if we be able to have the parade or the fireworks. But with a little bit of prayers, hopes and wishes we were able to have both.”

Santa Clause waves at the crowd during the Christmas Parade on Dec. 2 in downtown Mount Pleasant.

The fireworks are not a usual part of the annual celebration but were included to celebrate the 85th anniversary of The Bird Bar & Grill, Sponseller said. The fireworks were sent out slowly at first but ended with a blitz of explosions for the finale.

Fireworks go off after the Christmas Lights Parade on Dec. 1 above Island Park as seen from Mount Pleasant City Hall.

The night before was the Christmas tree lighting, which took place on the corner of South Main and East Broadway streets. The large tree stood darkened while a crowd of about 300 people counted down from ten.

When they reached one, Mount Pleasant Mayor, Allison Quast-Lents, flicked on the lights to illuminate the strands of multi-colored lights on the tree. People rushed in right after to get photos of themselves in front of the tree.

Many people who went said they really enjoyed the community aspect of the celebration. Mount Pleasant graduate student, Jake Schmittler, said he liked how the celebration brought people together and created community pride. 

Wyoming junior Kelly Gonzalez said it’s important to support the city and community.

“People should definitely try to come out every year,” Gonzalez said. “(People should) support Mount Pleasant and get to know the community more.”

Quast-Lents said she also enjoys the sense of community the event brings to downtown.

The Christmas celebration takes a year to plan and costs the city around $25,000, Sponseller said. But this year, she said it was an extra $10,000 for the fireworks show, which were donated by the Breidenstein family, who own The Bird.

The Christmas tree's lights are illuminated in downtown Mt. Pleasant November 30.