– December 5, 2015Posted in: Featured Categories, Stories
By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
Photo courtesy of the city of Taylor
Downriver Fish & Loaves President the Rev. Geoffrey. Dreutchas (right) welcomed Santa Claus with a key to the city, with a little help from Executive Director Karen Salomone and Taylor Mayor Rick Sollars. The nonprofit food pantry and outreach center co-hosted the city’s first Winter Festival Christmas Kickoff Nov. 28 at Heritage Park.
TAYLOR – Familiar holiday traditions in the city came together Nov. 28 to bring the seasonal spirit to town and boost efforts to help the less fortunate.
The first Taylor Winter Festival Christmas Kickoff at Heritage Park, 12111 Pardee Road, was made possible by city officials, the Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Gardens and the nonprofit Downriver Fish & Loaves Food Pantry, which annually sponsors Santa’s Magic Forest in the activities building. The indoor winter wonderland that helps the charity in its mission to ensure that “No one goes hungry” opened for the season following a day’s worth of seasonal events.
The Winter Festival Christmas Kickoff began with a morning parade through the park that brought Santa and Mrs. Claus to town in the company of police and fire vehicles, motorcycles and dozens of participating youth organizations. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Taylor Dance team members, hockey, soccer and baseball players all took part along with characters from the movie “Frozen” and a clown caravan. Miss USA Michigan DaStanza Murphy was on hand, as were Miss Downriver Teens, Taylor Robotics and cheer squads from local schools.
Courtesy of a $25,000 donation from Realty Transition, LLC, the city’s official Christmas tree in the Sheridan Center was lit for the season. The tree is decorated in blue in special tribute to the city’s police.
“We wanted to recognize local law enforcement officers,” Sollars said. “We all understand that across our nation they have been in the spotlight recently, but we respect and support their efforts to keep us safe.”
From there an afternoon of music and entertainment kept the spirit alive thanks to the Trillium Academy and Taylor Community Chorus. Decorations included ice sculptures from Henry Ford College, and refreshments and giveaways from event sponsors Biggby Coffee, Texas Roadhouse, Target and Meijer.
A bonfire at the Taylor Conservatory brought a storybook holiday festival to a close.
Downriver Fish & Loaves hopes to continue providing for those in need in seven Downriver communities – Allen Park, Brownstown Township, Dearborn Heights, Romulus, Southgate, Taylor and Woodhaven – and is looking for volunteers throughout the holiday season and beyond. For information on the organization, events and services go to www.downriverfishaandloaves.org.
(James Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)