Fish & Loaves holiday display opens for season Tuesday

Photo by Dave Gorgan

Santa Claus is coming to … the Forest
Visitors to Santa’s Magic Forest enjoy seasonal displays complete with animatronic figures from the former J. L. Hudson store. Santa will be in town Saturday to kick off the annual event.

Photo by Dave Gorgon

Santa and Mrs. Claus approach Santa’s Magic Forest, accompanied by Taylor Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand, his wife, Mishelle, and their daughter, Jillian.

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — After giving thanks on Thursday, the weekend brings an annual visitor to town to kick off the holiday season. Billed as “Downriver’s finest holiday display,” the Heritage Park Activity Building will be transformed into Santa’s Magic Forest, a wonderland of animatronic figures, sparkling trees and dazzling light displays.

“It’s a great event for the city,” said Taylor Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand, who will join the parade beginning at noon Saturday to welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus to the Forest.

This year, the Magic Forest will be operated entirely by the Downriver Fish & Loaves Community Pantry, which previously worked with the city for the event. Staff reductions at city hall prohibited Parks and Recreation from splitting the duties and profits this year, and all proceeds will benefit the community outreach organization.

“It’s been growing quite a bit,” said Chuck Vella, Vice President of Downriver Fish and Loaves of the Forest’s fourth year. Word-of-mouth spread and the community event has grown to welcome residents from throughout Downriver. As a family holiday destination, Vella said the Forest offers a seasonal bargan.

“A family of four can go to this place for ten dollars,” Vella said.

The Magic Forest includes more than 100 animatronic characters obtained by the City of Taylor from the former J.L. Hudson department store, and is open Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. and weekends from 1 to 7 p.m. through Christmas. Special hours during the week before Christmas are Monday, Dec. 21 through Wednesday, Dec. 23 from 1 to 7 p.m. Admission to the Forest is $3, $2 for seniors and children 10 and younger. On hand will be Rosecrans Picture Perfect Photography and Flowers to offer Santa photos for purchase at $7 each.

Fish & Loaves is a non-profit, faith-based organization providing food assistance to all qualified clients regardless of religion or creed. For information call (734) 778-1611 or visit

(James Mitchell can be reached at