The 44th annual Saline Christmas Parade will be held this Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
For most of those years, dating back to1983, Jim and Alison Robison, have been providing logistical and financial support to the parade.
For their enduring support of this and many other civic events, the Robisons have been selected Grand Marshals of this year’s parade.
“They’ve been very supportive of many, many parades - both financially and with space in their parking lots and anything we need,” said Larry Osterling, executive director of the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce, which presents the annual Christmas event. “We would not be able to provide the quality parade that people have come to expect without their support.”
The Robisons own the Robison-Bahnmiller Funeral Home in downtown Saline, at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Davenport.
Every year, their parking lots off Davenport Street turn into parade staging grounds. The Saline Twirlettes stay warm for the parade by gathering in their backyard building.
As you might expect, the Robisons are quick to deflect credit.
“It’s the police and department of public works workers who deserve all the credit,” Jim Robison said. “Still, it’s an honor. And we appreciate it. It’s a wonderful event for Saline and we’re honored to participate.”
After 36 years of watching the parade in Saline, their going to have a different vantage point.
Over the years, the Robisons have also supported Memorial Day activities at the Saline American Legion. They also paid for the new flag pole at Oakwood Cemetery. The Robisons have also supported community groups like the Legion and Saline Area Social Service, among many others.
They’ll be marshaling a parade with more than 1,200 participants. Even more people are expected along the parade route.
Speaking to city council Monday evening, Osterling said this year’s parade is shaping up really well. He thanked the city’s DPW and police for their support of the event.
“We are the biggest Christmas parade in the county. We’re proud of that. It speaks well of our community,” Osterling said.
The overall budget for the parade is $17,500. The parade is supported by hundreds of Busch’s shoppers who bought raffle tickets in support of the parade. The chamber will announce the raffle winners at the parade. The grand prize winner receives $1,000 in free groceries from Busch’s.
New this year is the Merry Mile. The one-mile run up and down Michigan Avenue is a fundraiser for Saline cross country programs. The run, which begins at 5 p.m., starts at the four corners, heads east to Maple, and then turns around and finishes west of the four corners.
Radio host Lucy Ann Lance will be the emcee of the parade.
Visitors are encouraged to use shuttles which pick up people at the Busch’s shopping center, near the UPS Store, and drop them off at the West Henry Street parking lot behind Mac’s and Carrigan Cafe.
Osterling said the chamber’s partners make the parade possible.
“We can all be proud of the way we pull together every year to make the Christmas Parade bigger and bigger every year. I know I’m proud too and I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the generous support we receive from the City of Saline, the Busch’s Grocery Raffle, and our other great sponsors---like DTE Foundation, MMI Engineering Solutions, Saline Pharmacy, Edward Jones, EHM Senior Solutions, McNaughton & Gunn, Hartman Insurance,
Waggle ‘N Whiskers, Saline Rotary, and more that are coming in every day,” Osterling said. “The chamber wants to make sure all of our sponsors are duly noted and appreciated by the thousands of spectators who’ll be on hand for this year’spParade. They’re the ones that make it all happen!”
Parents who want their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus can visit 131 E. Michigan Ave. after the parade.
The chamber also presents Treasure Trails to Santa, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14. Kids of all ages start at Physical Therapy in Motion and follow the trail to Santa, collecting treats along the way. There will also be free horse-drawn carriage rides.