Community caroling

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:38 PM

Before the City’s annual bonfire and carol sing had barely begun, sirens pierced the night. No reindeer were present, but a fire truck donned in lights delivered Santa to the festivities.

Santa said he was impressed by the flames, leaping and dancing from the 10-foot wide fire pit.

“These firefighters not only know how to put out a fire, they know how to build a great fire,” said Santa, who has been visiting Ferrysburg for the last 10 years.

Children rattled through their wish lists, then darted off to grab doughnut holes and hot cocoa.

Former Ferrysburg Mayor Lisa Menerick led the group through an hour of carols, hitting all the classics from “White Chiristmas” to “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night.”

Fortunately for the carolers, the weather changed from blizzard-like earlier that evening to calm and bright.

“The weather really cooperated,” Menerick said. “It couldn’t have been better.”

Spring Lake resident Donna Cook attended the event for the first time Saturday with her friend, Jill Maitzen.

“This simply is the best Christmas celebration I’ve been to all year,” Cook said. “This is just outstanding.”

The two belted out carols and chatted with Santa.

Maitzen asked the jolly good fellow for a husband for Christmas.

Santa laughed: “You asked me for a husband last year,” he said.

The nearby crowd roared and reprised as the evening concluded. Santa got on the microphone before leaving for the North Pole and referenced again Maitzen’s Christmas wish.

“I’m so embarrased,” Maitzen said, laughing.

Spring Lake Township resident Robyn MacKeller attended the event with firefighter/husband Jake and their children, Gentry, 2 and Cash, 3.

“I think it’s a great way to get engaged with your neighbors,” Robyn said.

Jake said he enjoyed seeing community members in a non-emergency situation.

“I think it’s awesome,” Jake said. “It brings the community together and gives us (firefighters) a chance to see everyone on a positive note.”

Mayor Dan Ruiter said the flames shined a light on what small town America is all about.

“It’s just so homey,” Ruiter said. “It’s a great hometown event that brings everyone together as a family.”

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