Sparkling lights illuminated Detroit Avenue, fireworks glittered in the early December sky and an aura of merriment filled the city’s downtown district. The holiday season is now officially underway in Lakewood.
People from across the region descended upon Downtown Lakewood in droves on Saturday, December 1, to partake in the holiday tradition that is Light Up Lakewood. Undaunted by a rainy day, a festive crowd enjoyed LakewoodAlive’s 12th annual holiday community event celebrating the spirit of the season and the richness of the city’s vibrancy.
Sponsored by First Federal Lakewood, Light Up Lakewood 2018 kicked off with Lunch with Santa at Dewey’s Pizza followed by joyous musical performances at Lakewood Baptist Church. The festivities then shifted to Plantation Home, where Lakewood High School juniors Yusra Abdi and Tristan Rumsey were honored as Queen and King of Light Up Lakewood. Yusra and Tristan were both awarded $500 scholarships from owner David Stein in recognition of their outstanding service to the community.
Three new features kicked off the evening’s main festivities. The Roundstone Beer Garden opened near the intersection of Detroit and Mars Avenues, welcoming guests to enjoy a craft beer in a unique, festive setting. The new Holiday Market at the historic Lakewood Masonic Temple beckoned shoppers, and the Holiday Train sponsored by Laskey Costello and Paisley Monkey began offering rides aboard this beautifully restored classic trackless train.
Crowd-pleasers Buddy The Elf and The Grinch highlighted the popular Holiday Parade, which included participants ranging from student organizations to huskies to, of course, Santa. Festival-goers lined both sides of Detroit Avenue taking in the sights and sounds of the parade, which featured nearly 30 participating groups. Local favorite media personality Mark Nolan emceed both the Holiday Parade and the ensuing Lighting Ceremony, enhancing the already-festive atmosphere.
Congratulations to the following Holiday Parade award winners:
- Best in Show: Lakewood High School Marching Band
- Best Group Costume: Cub Scouts Pack 76
- Best Use of Lights: Ghostbusters Cleveland
- Most Spirited: Lakewood Fire Department
The Lighting Ceremony commenced at Lakewood City Center Park with remarks from Mayor Michael Summers and with Poet Laureate Bill Knittel singing his latest Light Up Lakewood poem entitled “My Christmas Angel’s Gift.” After a crowning ceremony for Yusra and Tristan, Ruby McEwen – a fourth grader who won the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce’s “Why I Love Lakewood” essay contest – read her piece, and the Peddlers of Mirth performed holiday carols for the delighted crowd.
Buddy, Santa and his elf joined Ruby to flip the big red switch and illuminate City Center Park before fireworks sparkled over the rooftops of Downtown Lakewood to culminate the festive celebration.
The free, family-friendly community event also included musical performances at Lakewood Public Library, live music courtesy of The Sellouts, outdoor carolers and musicians, DJs, ice carvings, free hot chocolate, food trucks and children’s games.
“It truly takes a village to orchestrate a volunteer-driven event the magnitude of Light Up Lakewood,” said Ian Andrews, Executive Director for LakewoodAlive. “We’re extremely grateful to the City of Lakewood, First Federal Lakewood, our Light Up Lakewood Committee, our partner organizations and businesses, our sponsors and the numerous volunteers who made this wonderful community celebration possible.”
For more information regarding Light Up Lakewood 2018, please visit LakewoodAlive.org/LightUpLakewood.
Light Up Lakewood 2018 was generously supported by the following sponsors:
Beer Garden Sponsor:
Lakewood City Center
Photo Booth Sponsor:
Eric Lowrey and Chris Bergin, Berkshire Hathaway/Lucien Realty
MLSound Design, LLC