Days after being cancelled, Mount Clemens Santa Parade is back on

Parade attracts nearly 50,000 people

Santa Parade in Mount Clemens, Mich. (WDIV)

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – Talk about a rollercoaster.

Just a few days ago the Santa Parade in Mount Clemens was cancelled, disappointing thousands in the Macomb County community. Now, the parade is back on.

The parade is organized and put on by a committee not controlled by the city of Mount Clemens. That committee is mainly new members this year. There’s been allegations the old team wasn’t cooperating with the new team, or vice-versa, that the new team never asked for help.

Those familiar with the breakdown told Local 4 it boiled down to two things: A lack of communication and a lack of volunteers.

The decision was made last week that for the second year in a row the parade would be cancelled. The 2020 Santa Parade was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mount Clemens Mayor Laura Kropp said the committee was devastated.

“It wasn’t going to happen, and they were so disappointed,” Kropp said. “It takes 6 to 8 months at the least when the committee is a well-oiled machine. It takes a significant amount of time of dedicated people.”

The Mount Clemens parade is one of the largest in the area, with 47 entries (think floats, marching bands, dance teams and more). It attracts nearly 50,000 people. So, when news broke the parade was cancelled, many were disappointed, and even more were shocked.

That’s when Thomas Barnes got a phone call from his father-in-law, an original parade organizer who asked him to jump in. Barnes called another friend, Mike Karpinski, a local business owner.

“My first phone call was to Mike,” Barnes said. “I said, ‘We need to get some people out here to start volunteering. Let’s save this parade.’”

And they did just that. Monday afternoon the committee announced the parade was back on, thanks to a surplus of new volunteers, business support and more. Parade committee members worked all weekend long organizing the help and made the decision the bring the parade Sunday night.

“I think the community wants to come together,” said Karpinski. “They want to see this happen. And with me and Tommy working together we can make this possible.”

“It wasn’t advertised well enough, we just didn’t have enough volunteers,” added Barnes. “So the outpouring of support from the volunteers is what’s going to help us bring this thing together.”

Mayor Kropp said it was just the news they needed.

“I feel like it’s been whiplash,” Kropp said. “We went from one side to the other. But now what’s happened is everyone, especially former committee members have stepped up and said, ‘Wait a minute, we will come in and help.”

Parade schedule

The Mount Clemens Santa parade will take place on at 10 a.m. Nov. 20, 2021. The parade route is on Main Street in Mount Clemens, between Crocker and Market.

“It’s a big deal,” said Barnes. “It’s been going on for 47 years and we didn’t want to see it skip a beat. COVID took enough from us last year. The last thing we wanted to do was put our kids through another year of having something else taken away from them.”


About the Author:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.