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Santa Parade marches through downtown

November 19, 2015
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Santa Parade marches downtown
The Santa Parade in Grand Rapids dates back to the 1800s. Photo via santaparadegr.com

Santa is coming to town to kick off the holiday season on Saturday.

The annual Art Van Santa Parade, presented by the Grand Rapids Jaycees, will begin at 9 a.m. on Nov. 21 at the corner of Michigan Street NW and Monroe Avenue.

The parade will continue south on Monroe past Rosa Parks Circle and conclude just past the intersection of Fulton Street and Monroe.

Celebrity appearances

Two West Michigan natives are flying in to serve as grand marshal and guest of honor.

Rachel Reenstra, host of the Emmy-nominated ABC weekend animal series "The Wildlife Docs," will serve as the grand marshal, and singer/songwriter Matt Giraud will be the guest of honor.

Reenstra has previously starred in her own series on Animal Planet in a show called "Ms. Adventure," where she traveled the world comparing animal and human behavior. Her extensive career includes appearances in sitcoms, films, national commercials and many voice-overs.

Giraud has achieved national recognition and acclaim for his performances on “American Idol.”

He has appeared on various media outlets and continues to tour the world. He will be performing along the parade route.

“We are thrilled to have Rachel and Matt,” said Rachael Eerdmans, Grand Rapids Jaycees president.

Parade lineup

The parade lineup includes more than 80 entries, including several area marching bands, professional floats, cold-air balloons and the Express Clydesdales.

WOOD TV 8 will televise the parade, and Jordan Carson and Rachael Ruiz, from WOOD TV, will be announcing the parade entrants as they travel down the parade route.

Tommy and Brook from Star 105.7 will be remote broadcasting as well.

And, of course, Santa will be in attendance.

Following the conclusion of the parade, Santa will be available at the Grand Rapids Art Museum for photos.

Reenstra and Giraud will also be available after the parade, greeting fans and signing autographs.

The Express Clydesdales will be arriving in Grand Rapids at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19, and will be making a public appearance at the Express Employment Professionals office, at 333 44th St. SW in Grand Rapids.

More information is available at online and on Facebook.

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