by DREW HOWARD
Downtown Rochester is introducing a brand new Christmas celebration being touted as a mashup of “Elf,” “A Wonderful Life,” and everything else you love about Christmas.
The first annual “Caroling in the City” celebration will bring holiday cheer to Downtown Rochester on Sunday, December 17. With the promise of caroling, Christmas-themed contests and holiday sweets, the event looks to further solidify Rochester’s growing reputation as Michigan’s “Christmas City.”
Kristi Trevarrow, executive director of the Rochester Downtown Development Authority, said the event was created to capitalize on Rochester’s recognition as one of the premier holiday main streets in Michigan.
“We keep getting this recognition so we’re starting to call ourselves Christmas City,” Trevarrow said. “The key to all of this is that it’s on Main Street in front of the lights – everyone will be trying to get memory-making moments.”
Even if you don’t get the opportunity to attend the celebration, there’s a good chance you’ll hear it if you live nearby. “Caroling in the City’s” main event invites attendees to join in on a group carol called “the whobilation,” a reimagining of the famous caroling scene in “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!”
“The whobilation is going to be the most exciting part,” Trevarrow said. “Our whole community with song books singing along to music altogether – I don’t know how it can get better than that. There’s going to be more holiday cheer than you can shake a candy cane at.”
In addition to caroling, the celebration will also feature an ugly sweater contest, a choir performance, kids’ activities, opportunities for selfies with elves, a Christmas-inspired Minute-to-Win-It, and even a letter-writing station for Santa Claus. Trevarrow says to expect some undisclosed “fantastic prizes” in the competitions, as well as trophies for the ugly sweater contest winners.
One of the most exciting aspects of this celebration, though, is something that no other event besides the Hometown Christmas Parade has been able to accomplish.
“This is the first time aside from the parade that we’ve been able to close down Main Street for an event,” Trevarrow said. “We’ve never attempted it because everyone told us we couldn’t. It’s a big deal and a huge accomplishment.”
While it’s only the event’s first year, Rochester residents are nevertheless showing their excitement for the newest addition to the holiday schedule. The “Caroling in the City” Facebook page has 2,000 people “interested” in attending, with another 200 who have already committed to going.
“People are already seeing the flyers and saying they’re totally coming – it’s happened over and over,” Trevarrow said. “For an event that’s never happened it’s amazing. Our Facebook teaser video has over 11,000 views – people were all over it.”
“Caroling in the City” is scheduled to run from 5 – 8 p.m., with the whobilation closing out the event at 7:45 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to hang around before and after the celebration to enjoy Downtown Rochester’s Big, Bright Light Show.
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page or go to downtownrochestermi.com.