Grand Ledge Holiday Traditions

Grand Ledge Holiday Traditions
Courtesy of the Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce
Courtesy of the Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce

Grand Ledge is by far one of my favorite places in Michigan, but definitely one of the best places to be during the holidays. (Yes, I may be a bit bias.) With its quaint downtown main street and old, historic homes, you’re sure to feel like you just stepped out of the pages of a Dickens novel in this bustling little village nestled among 300 million year old rock ledges. During the holidays, Grand Ledge is busy with residents rushing from little shops and cafes for last minute desserts and gifts for friends. Two of my hometown favorite traditions are the holiday light parade and the holiday home tour.

The town will kick off the Christmas season with the 42nd annual Christmas Light Parade on December 6, 2013. The parade begins at 7 p.m. at the fire station on Bridge Street and continues through the Downtown area. The parade features many floats from local businesses as well as a myriad of performing acts. Some of my favorites include the Grand Ledge High School drum line, the pomp on and cheerleading teams, some of the younger children from local elementary schools, and a guest appearance from Santa Claus. All organizations are encouraged to participate in the annual parade as well as decorate their floats with Christmas lights. This parade is not for the faint of heart as it is normally pretty chilly in December. with the wind coming off the Grand River, so make sure to bundle up! Or better yet, join me INSIDE Sweet Linda’s Café on Bridge St. for the best hot cocoa in town!

Courtesy of the Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce
Courtesy of the Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce

The 39th Annual Holiday Traditions Tour will take place on December 7 -8, 2013 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The tour provides residents and visitors with a view of some of Grand Ledge’s churches and historic homes, which are  beautifully decorated for the holidays.  The 2013 tour features four very interesting private homes, dating from 1873-1928, a wedding chapel, two churches, Opera House and the Museum, all decorated for Christmas or advent.

Chip and Kara Christy have lovingly restored the interior of their c. 1873 Victorian Vernacular home at 117 W. Lincoln St. with memorabilia of their music and dance interests and family treasures. Greg Thon’s remodeled c. 1880 bachelor’s pad overlooking Island Park was once the home of J. S. Mudge, owner of the Seven Islands Resort. His home at 222 W. River St. reflects his interests in Michigan State University, antiques, and his farm background.  Peg Cook restored her c. 1882 Vernacular two family home at 204 W. Jefferson St. to a one family home once again. She has filled it with interesting historic and quirky items that she loves, giving an eclectic feel to her home.  Ginny Forstat updated and decorated her 1928 Cape Cod Colonial home at 603 E. Jefferson St. with comfortable traditional furnishings and family antiques. The Chris Holmes Family updated and restored the 1903 Congregational Church at 200 N. Bridge St. in 2005 as a wedding chapel, retaining the stained glass windows. Their first wedding was held in 2006. Trinity Episcopal Church at 201 E. Jefferson St. is celebrating its 100th year in their gothic church with 12 magnificent stained glass windows, soaring vaulted ceiling and polished hardwood. St. Michael Catholic Parish built their contemporary church at 345 Edwards St. in 1970 moving from their previous church at 200 E. Jefferson St. The contemporary sanctuary incorporated a smaller chapel. The c. 1880 Gothic Revival Museum at 118 W. Lincoln St. features “Things of Beauty: Decorative Arts” by Grand Ledge artists, including painting, photography, pottery, sculpture and fabric art. The 1884 restored Opera House at 120 S. Bridge St. showcases decorated trees, miniatures display, Christmas Mart and the 1928 Barton Theater Organ in the Grand Hall, festive tables on the Terrace Level and Teddy Bears in the Blake Room.

Holiday Home Traditions Tour tickets are $8 presale, $10 at the door, $3 for children 12 and under and $3 for a tour of the Opera House only. Tickets can be purchased as the Opera House, Library, or True Value in Grand Ledge. The tour stops change every year so make sure not to miss this event. It may be the only time you’ll be able to peek inside this historic homes!

If you can’t make it to the events, make sure to at least tour the town during the holidays in the evening to catch a glimpse of the beautifully decorated downtown. There are also quite a few homes in the area that go all out when it comes to Christmas lights!

Jacey Kloeckner, Contributing Writer