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October 31, 2013
THE GROSSE POINTES — Santa Claus will answer children’s Christmas letters written during next month’s preview party for the Grosse Pointe Santa Claus Parade.

The party, organized annually by the Friends of the Grosse Pointe Santa Claus Parade, is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Grosse Pointe Farms Pier Park community building.


Admission costs $50 per family or $25 per person.

Attendees receive free food, dessert, entertainment and childrens activities.

“You’ll be able to get a full meal,” said Tracy Lyon, a Friends member from the City.

Advance tickets are sold at Posterity: A Gallery, 17005 Kercheval, in the Village district of downtown City of Grosse Pointe.

The Farms residency requirement for Pier Park is waived for people attending the preview.

Last year’s party was packed.

Tickets are tax-deductible because the Friends is a 501(c)(3) charity. All Friends members are volunteers.

The party’s purpose is threefold:

It’s a warm-up to Christmas.

Proceeds pay for the Friends’ floats and activities related to the parade.

Attendees get a close-up look at floats appearing in the parade, produced by the Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce, kicking off at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29.

The route begins on Kercheval a few blocks above the Hill commercial district in Grosse Pointe Farms and ends above Cadieux in the Village.

Members of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve rin dress uniform attend the preview to accept new, unwrapped toys donated to the Toys for Tots campaign.

“We ask people coming to the party to please donate a toy,” Lyon said.

Extra entertainment is scheduled for this year’s preview.

“There’s a free, old-fashioned photo booth for kids and grown-ups,” Lyon said. “We’ll have a piano player, cookie decorating, the Grosse Pointe South (High School) choir and a Santa workshop.”

She gets a kick out of the letters to Santa.

“Last year, I read them all three times,” Lyon said. “Every time a Grinch stepped into my life, I got out those letters.”

Although Santa doesn’t attend the party — he’s busy at the North Pole until arriving in town during the parade — Mrs. Claus and elves are on the guest list, Lyon said.

The elves will distribute TCBY coupons.

A group of Grosse Pointe residents established the Friends eight years ago to support the Santa parade with floats designed with hometown themes.

The fleet consists of:

Santa’s sleigh with reindeer flying over the Grosse Pointe landscape,

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,

a Toys for Tots Caboose to haul toys collected during the parade,

the Grosse Pointe Wellness Express passenger trains and,

the White Christmas Carriage.

John Stevens, a founder of the Friends from the City of Grosse Pointe, promises a new addition to this year’s parade.

“It’s a surprise,” he said. “It’s another item to make the parade unique.”

The Friends are gung ho to collect gifts on behalf of Toys for Tots, founded shortly after World War II by Marine reservists. The toys are given to needy children in metro Detroit.

“I’ve attended some of the toy-givings to children,” Stevens said. “It’s the most breath-taking experience. There are a lot of children who need help. The people of Grosse Pointe are very generous in giving things for the children.”


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