For a peek inside Santa's workshop, look no further than Main Street in Rochester.
That's what will be on display for all of Rochester and its neighboring guests to see on Sunday afternoon, as the annual Hometown Christmas Parade makes its way through town.
Sponsored by the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce, the parade theme for 2012 is "Inside Santa's Workshop;" all of the floats will be decorated to fit the theme.
Rochester Patch will bring you parade news all week long; for starters, here's the who-what-when-and-where of this year's parade.
When and where
The parade begins at 2 p.m. at the corner of Tienken and Rochester roads in Rochester Hills. It travels south on Main Street into downtown Rochester and finishes up on Third Street. Here's a look at the full route.
How to get there
A free shuttle will pick up parade-goers at Chase Bank on Walton Boulevard (at Livernois Road) and drop them off at Chase Bank downtown (at Pine and Fourth streets). The shuttle runs constantly from 12:15 to 4:30 p.m.
How to watch
Rochester Patch will broadcast the parade in a livestream format online. The parade will be shown in real-time, in its entirety and without commercial interruption, on the Rochester Patch site. You'll be able to watch the parade from anywhere in the world — on a computer or mobile device.
What's the best way to catch the livestream of the parade? Tune into www.Rochester.Patch.com on Sunday and click "Play" at parade time.
For more about the livestream, read about it here.
The city of Rochester Hills will also record the parade and broadcast it on its local cable channel during the month of December.
How to get around town
Here's a look at the approximate times of road closings around town on parade day:
- Sheldon Road (southbound traffic): 1-3 p.m.
- Tienken Road near Stoney Creek High School: 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Tienken and Rochester Road: 1:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Rochester Road and Romeo Road: 1:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Side streets off Rochester Road in downtown Rochester blocked: 1:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Rochester Road at Avon Road: 1:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Rochester Road at Second Street: 1:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Why families should come out
The Rochester Chamber is partnering this year with Radio Disney, which will bring its crew of broadcasters, along with kids' activities, to the parade scene. Radio Disney will have family-friendly activities, including games, music and prizes, in the downtown area beginning at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. It's part of their "Festival of Giving," which will benefit the Rochester Regional Service Collaboration.
Who will be there
Among the dignitaries for this year's parade are grand marshals Ray and Ginny de Steiger and junior grand marshals Grant Mercer and Sara-Jane Dakroub, both students at Adams High School.
There are more than 100 community groups, schools and businesses marching or riding in the parade. Among them:
- 37 floats, all decorated in the spirit of the "Inside Santa's Workshop" theme
- 9 marching bands
- 6 drill teams
- Horse-drawn carriages
- Fire trucks
- Various Cub Scouts, Brownies and 4H groups
- And, of course, Santa!
What else is happening on Sunday?
A Pancake Breakfast at the Older Persons' Commission starts the day of festivities from 8-10 a.m. It's sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Rochester and is open to the public. Cost is $6 adults; $3 children 12 and under.
Did you say Santa?
He'll be one of the stars of the parade down Main Street, but your kids can have their one-on-one time with him, too, both before and after the parade.
From 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. kids can meet with Santa on the east side of Fourth Street. After the parade, from 4-5 p.m., kids can meet with Santa at a Community Afterglow celebration at Bordine's Nursery in Rochester Hills.
What's your favorite part of the Hometown Christmas Parade? Are you planning to come out to watch it this year? Are you participating in the parade? Tell us in the comments!