Grand Marais kicks off holidays

Grand Marais was full of holiday cheer over the weekend with the first Christmas Parade and tree lighting ceremony on Friday, November 25. Roughly 250 people attended the parade, caroling and shopping event.

“The last few years, the community spirit was a little low, dealing with COVID and everything, so they said ‘let’s bring Grand Marais back together’,” Elise Cormier said. “I think this event really did that.

For years, Grand Marais hosted Starry, Starry Night, which was an opportunity for businesses to stay open late on Black Friday for shopping and enjoy the community. It worked for those travelling back after Thanksgiving or a chance to enjoy going out for those staying in town for the weekend. But like many local events, the pandemic took a toll on the event. Now the event has been updated in the hopes of more enjoyment from the community.

The event showcased a new Christmas Tree for Grand Marais. While the initial tree given by the Grand Marais Womens Club was still lit next to the pavilion, a 16-foot blue spruce was the one lit up this season. The initial tree will most likely be trimmed to avoid space around a power line, prompting the need for a new option. Cormier, who serves as the township’s landscape architect, said the project brought in a local tree from McMillan and helps protect the intent of Grand Marais’s green spaces.

“We worked with the families of the original landowners that donated the property to keep a space open in town,” she said. “Now we get to have two neighborhood Christmas trees.” Approximately 75 people stayed after the parade and lighting for a performance of the Grand Marais Community Chorus, which performed four songs before leading the crowd in a couple more.

“It was our first time performing outdoors, so it was a little cold, but we have some fabulous singers and they showed what they could do for our community,” Melissa Carrothers, Director of the Grand Marais Community Chorus said. “We only get to perform together a few times a year, so we were happy to be here.”

On Saturday, further events were held for the community, including children’s games, hot chocolate stations and a screening of the movie “Elf ”, with more locals and regional residents attending.