EAST TAWAS – An evening of festive activities will again herald the official beginning of the holiday season in East Tawas with a parade and the 46th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Friday.

A parade with floats will begin at 5:30 p.m. along Lincoln Street behind the Stephenson building. 

The parade will then travel down Newman Street to Bay Street where it will turn at Sawyer Street then to Westover where it will end at the former Look’s dealership. The annual tree lighting ceremony, which begins immediately following the parade, will be held at the former dealership. 

The event is sponsored by the East Tawas Business Association (ETBA).

The schedule of events calls for cookies and hot cocoa to be served. Santa and Mrs. Claus, the ETBA, U.S. Coast Guard Station Tawas, Tawas area veterans and the Tawas Area Honor Guard will participate in the parade.

A community sing-along with caroling will also be held.

East Tawas Mayor Bruce Bolen will lead the countdown to the Christmas tree lighting.

As in past years, Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be on hand to listen to the Christmas wishes of area children at the event and will hand out candy canes.

Prior to the event, the 12th annual Turkey Trot will be held that day at 4 p.m. The race starts at the East Tawas Community Center. 

Additionally, a Downtown Shopping Night will be held in East Tawas on Thursday, Dec. 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. Shops will stay open serving appetizers or some treat, stores will offer special discounts for the evening.  Local author Stacey Franklin will be at Chick’n Dots doing a book signing of her new children’s book.  Customers will have the opportunity with every purchase to sign up for a chance to win up to $500 in gift certificates to use in participating merchants stores. Five $100 gift certificates will be given away.