The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Gogebic Range turns out for Jack Frost parade

 

December 4, 2017

Richard Jenkins/Daily Globe

Local cub scout troop's float hand out candy along the Jack Frost parade route through downtown Ironwood Saturday evening.

By RICHARD JENKINS

rjenkins@yourdailyglobe.com

Ironwood - Even though the lack of snow on the ground may not have put people in the holiday mindset, residents of Ironwood and the surrounding area turned out Saturday for the 23rd annual Jack Frost parade.

This year was the first time the parade was held on a Saturday, which Ironwood Chamber of Commerce Director Michael Meyer felt helped the crowd's atmosphere.

"One of the reasons for shifting it to Saturday was to make it more family friendly and less stressful," Meyer said. "Of course it's always hard to judge the tenor of a crowd - and once again, this is only my third (Jack Frost parade) - but people seemed to be in a really relaxed and open mood."

"I really think, because it was not on a workday, it helped create a sense of, 'Let's relax and have a good time.' And that was actually the goal (of making it a Saturday event)," he continued.

Along with avoiding having the parade on the workday, the switch to Saturday also turned the event into a two-day celebration.

Among the downtown activities Friday were stores staying open as part of the city's continuing First Friday effort and carolers throughout the downtown to serenade crowds.

"We want to build up both Friday and Saturday," Meyer said, regarding future parades. "There were lots of pluses to this Friday and Saturday (schedule), there really were."

Meyer said this year also doubled the number of downtown stores participating in a decorating contest with 12 stores getting into the holiday spirit.

On Saturday, the events before the parade included Santa and Mrs. Claus at the River Valley Bank and old-time Christmas cartoon at the Historic Ironwood Theatre.

Meyer had mixed feelings about the lack of snow for the holiday, saying it probably hurt the attendance of kids meeting Santa at the bank - which he said had a steady flow of kids but wasn't crowded. He did think the weather helped turn out for the parade.

"The sun was bright, it was shining, the birds were chirping merrily, people were hiking the trail - it looked like October. And I think when it does that, most people up in these latitudes aren't thinking about Christmas. Once it started to get dark, well that's a little bit different and I think it brought more people out," Meyer said. "It didn't look like Christmas, it was beautiful out."

Perhaps the lack of snow was fitting though, as Meyer said the character of Jack Frost functions as a symbol of the beginning of winter.

"That's really what Jack Frost is, it's really a symbol of the change of seasons," Meyer said. "You know it's real when you have to scrape 'jack frost' off your car,"

He said it also adds an element to the celebration beyond simply a Christmas event.

Meyer credited the volunteers who helped make the festival a success. He specifically mentioned Sam and Anne Davey - who, along with Sue Carr - worked as parade directors and were crucial in marshaling the 33 parade entries and ensuring the parade was a success.

This year had a change in how the entries were judged, with the parade broken down into motorized and non-motorized units. Meyer said this was done as some felt it was unfair to those who worked on the floats to have to compete against a group of walkers or some other kind of performance.

He said he will have parade results available today.

After the parade, the Gogebic Range Band played a variety of songs in the Historic Ironwood Theatre.

While the parade is over, the Jack Frost Festival continues and a schedule of upcoming events is available at ironwoodchamber.org/events/jack-frost.

 
 

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