Marquette DDA cancels annual parade and tree lighting ceremony, provides alternative holiday event including drive-by Santa visit

North Central UP

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Marquette Downtown Development Authority (MDDA) is announcing the cancelation of the annual Winter Snow Fun Holiday Parade and annual City Tree Lighting for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its place, the MDDA will host a Light Up Downtown Marquette event on Thursday, December 3 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., consisting of a drive-by visit with Santa, as well as the unveiling of a new downtown decorating contest this year. Downtown businesses are encouraged to go all-out and decorate for the holiday season, to bring cheer and joy to what might otherwise be a quiet time of the year.

In conjunction with a bright and cheery downtown holiday display, Santa will be on hand at the Marquette Commons for a socially distanced visit. Those who wish to greet Santa will be able to drive past the Marquette Commons and the City Tree from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 3, where he will be stationed in his sleigh.

The Marquette Post Office will be on hand to collect letters to Santa. Those who would like to receive a letter back are reminded to include a return address. The City of Marquette Mayor, Jenna Smith, and Mayor Pro-Temp Jenn Hill will also be on hand.

The public is asked to enter the Marquette Commons parking lot from S. Third St. and remain in their vehicles, wear masks, and observe physical distancing with those from outside of their household.

“We are concerned for the safety of the community and don’t feel the current COVID-19 situation is conducive to holding a traditional parade and tree lighting this year. However, we do want to help spread holiday cheer and bring joy to what might otherwise be a dark time of year, and feel a drive-through event could do that. We’re excited to have Santa available to say “hello” from a safe distance this year, and the United States Postal Service will be on-hand to collect letters to Santa,” stated Rebecca Finco, Executive Director of the Marquette Downtown Development Authority.

For more information on this event, please visit

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