The 8-year-old got into the Christmas spirit as 82 parade entries kicked off the holiday season with the 2013 Jingle Bell Parade in downtown Grand Haven.
Following the parade, community members joined Santa and Mrs. Claus in Grand Haven’s Central Park to light the city’s Christmas tree.
Welty jumped for candy on Washington Avenue along with his 11-year-old sister, Meghan. Matthew Welty said he gave the parade a “thumbs up.”
“I love it!” he exclaimed.
The Welty family attended the parade for the first time to watch their 14-year-old daughter, Ashleigh, walk in it with her classmates from West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics.
Heidi Welty said the parade gave her family a chance to explore more of downtown Grand Haven.
“It’s been fun going into the shops,” she said.
Trucks draped in holiday lights shined as they traveled the parade route
with bright red, blue, and green bulbs lighting up the night.
Pam Blake, member services manager for the local Chamber of Commerce, said this year’s parade is the largest yet.
“It’s great to see everyone get into the holiday spirit,” she said.
Spring Lake resident Candi Drake said she’s lived in the Tri-Cities her whole life, but she hadn’t been to the parade until Saturday.
Rodney Wydeck, also of Spring Lake, bundled up in warm hats and gloves with his 4-year-old son as they joined friends to watch the parade.
Wydeck said they wanted to attend because it was a fun thing for children to experience.
Although Wydeck’s 4-year-old son said he was excited about the parade, he looked forward to one Christmas tradition the most.
“I want to see Santa Claus bring me presents,” Rodney Wydeck Jr. said.