By TEREASA NIM
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – Patrons lined the streets for the annual Lighted Christmas Parade Friday with marching bands belting holiday songs, floats decked out in the Christmas theme and many wide-eyed children and adults watching the line move in the city’s downtown.
“This was the first parade that she really understood,” said Megan O’Dell of South Lyon of her 2-year-old daughter, Kayleigh. “She was so happy as we waited and got so excited as the marching bands went by. She didn’t even get fussy about it being a bit cold.
“I think the bands were her favorite,” O’Dell said. “She may just have some of her dad’s musicality in her.”
Marcher Michelle Douglas of Sit Means Sit with dogs Tina, Moch and Cruise, thought the parade was great. Despite the falling temperatures, Douglas thought the turnout was good and she and her group, including co-worker Janet Warren, had a good time.
Resident Ester Quinn said late parade co-chairman Bruce Haberkern would have been pleased with the turnout, “especially with the challenge at the end by River Rouge and Ecorse high school bands.”
As the crowd dissipated, the two bands stood across the street from each other, each taking turns playing a piece, complete with color guard members and cheerleaders. One band member said that wasn’t unusual, noting they do it at the end of every parade they march together.
“This is really something,” parade chairwoman Sharon Broglin said of the spectacle.
Broglin had to carry on with the event without Haberkern, 66, who died on Oct. 31 after months of illness. The retired Anderson Music employee worked with children in area schools. Those who knew him said he loved music.
Broglin and Haberkern worked to resurrect the parade in 2001 after a 12-year hiatus due to budget cuts. Broglin said it was their dream to bring back the parade.
“It was kind of our dream to get the parade back,” she said of the event that dated back to the 1940s before it ended in 1989.
“It seemed bigger this year,” said Dearborn resident Zienab Mohammed, who brought her boys, 3 and 4, to the event. “One day I think they will be marching in it.”
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at [email protected])