OK, it's now officially the Christmas season! Sure, retailers started putting up decorations and holiday sale merchandise before Halloween, and Black Friday's shopping mania is still two weeks away, but we date the season from the lighting of Racine's Monument Square Christmas tree.
Make-a-Wish participant Frankie Hernandez of Kenosha lit the tree Saturday night, pushing the "on" switch with the help of Santa himself.
The tree lighting followed a 90-minute parade viewed by thousands -- mostly children, huddled under blankets or bundled into parkas along Main and Sixth Streets. They were treated to the usual assortment of holiday spectacle: dancers, bands, a few holiday floats, princesses, reindeer and dogs in their holiday finery.
And the usual anomalies: cars promoting a driving school, radio stations and plasma; Star Wars characters; Corvettes for Christ; the mayor with a "Dickert for Mayor" sign on his car; SC Johnson "product characters." Ah, the true meaning of Christmas!
Oh, and Santa, of course.
She had the biggest candy cane along the parade route
Milwaukee's Dancing Grannies
Postal Carriers making sure kids' letters to Santa will get delivered
The Grinch rode a snowmobile
Atonement Lutheran Church's float had Santa and a Nativity scene
Frankie Hernandez and Santa lit the tree
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