Wednesday July 23, 2014
Scene from BC Holiday parade. Dale Geminder

2011 Battle Creek Holiday Parade


The 32nd Annual Battle Creek Holiday Parade presented by the Harper Creek Optimist Club was a huge success.  Thousands of excited children and adults alike lined the alternate parade route this year, which traveled down Van Buren to Capital to Michigan.  This year's parade theme was “Christmas Safari”.

The parade turned down Capital Ave. shortly after Mayor Baldwin and dignitaries on a stage at Capital & Michigan flipped the switch for the International Festival of Lights.  The entire downtown lit up with bright displays of lights from all directions.

This year’s parade, with over 110 entries, had some of the most exciting floats in a long time.  There was a crafted airplane display, with what looked like Snoopy in the cockpit, that had flames coming out the rear of the engine.  In addition to a realistic looking plane was a volcano and an elephant built by a local scouting troupe and a Grinch-themed float that was the favorite of some, while scare other little onlookers.

The Parade Grand Marshall for 2011 was Mr. Robert Randels. Bob is the founding Executive Director of the Food Bank of South Central Michigan (FBSCM). The Food Bank, begun in 1983, annually distributes over 12 million dollars of grocery products to 285 charitable feeding programs in South Central and Southwest Michigan. Mr. Randels holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Adrian College and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, New York City.

Early into his adult life, Randels felt a calling to help those less fortunate than him and has dedicated the better part of the last three decades to feeding the hungry. He and his wife Ginger – who works for Michigan State University Extension – have made philanthropy an everyday element in their lives.

“Bob is one of those truly good people who give unconditionally, without thought of personal gain,” said Michael “Mac” McCullough, the Food Bank’s board chairperson. “He has dedicated his life and his career to helping the disadvantaged.”

Another special appearance in the parade was the Fox Sports Detroit Girls, who road on a float sponsored by Lakeview Card & Gift Shop. “They are a marketing team for Fox Sports Detroit for Red Wings, Tiger and Lions games. Anyone who watch those games know who they are,” said parade coordinator, Jim Demarest.

This year marked the 23rd year in a row that AccessVision, the Greater Battle Creek Area’s public access television facility, aired the parade. AccessVision’s volunteers braved the cold weather once again to provide all of the sights and sounds of the Annual Battle Creek Holiday Parade to the warmth of the viewer’s living room.  AccessVision also successfully "steamed" the parade live on their website at:, which also allowed them to put the "stream" directly on Channel 17/917 "live".

The parade is planned and executed every year by the volunteers of the Harper Creek Optimist Club.  Long time volunteer Teresa Durham hosted the parade, along side Harper Creek Optimist’s own, Jim Demarest for the TV audience.  The volunteer production crew consisted of director Jeff Smith and camera operation by Ryan Payne, Chris Scherer, Ed Rocha and James Williamson.

The parade will be re-aired on channels 17 & 917 eight times between then and Christmas. The website will also allow a user to see the parade any time by going to and watching it on the “On Demand” – Community Programs feature.

Listed below are the times and dates for airing.

     Channels  17 & 917

Saturday                        November  19                        10:00 p.m.

Monday                         November  21                          9:00 p.m.

Thursday                       November  24                          7:00 p.m.

Saturday                        November  26                        11:00 a.m.

Tuesday                         November  29                          7:00 p.m.

Friday                             December    2                          7:00 p.m.

Saturday                        December  10                        12:00 noon

Saturday                        December  24                        10:00 a.m.

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