Firefighters modify parade plan after health dept. issues new order

SWARTZ CREEK — Just as preparations were getting rolling, the COVID- 19 pandemic took a turn for the worse and jettisoned the plan for the 36th annual Swartz Creek Area Firefighters parade and tree lighting ceremony.

But you better not pout, you better not cry, because the firefighters have a backup plan for spreading some holiday cheer during these unprecedented times.

“We still want to do something to show our kids that, even though the parade is canceled, Santa’s still out there and he still cares,” said event Co-chairman Lt. Robert Fitzpatrick. “We’re going to keep the belief alive.”

Instead of the traditional parade of floats and bands and cute, costumed kiddos, the firefighters will load Santa onto a rig and drive through neighborhoods in the City of Swartz Creek and Clayton Township.

Fitzpatrick is hoping to get several emergency vehicles lined up to cruise the streets starting Saturday, Dec. 5. He said it may take more than one night to hit all the neighborhoods in the city and township, and he’s still working out the logistics. Watch the Swartz Creek Firefighters Inc. Facebook page,, for details and information on when and where to see Santa as he rolls by.

For now, the procession will begin at the plaza on Miller and Seymour roads in Clayton Township and go through Winchester Woods and Village, through downtown to Holland Square, where the firefighters will live stream Santa lighting the community Christmas tree, before continuing to more residential areas within the city.

“We’re still calling it the 36th annual parade, but instead of everyone going downtown, we’re bringing it to them,” Fitzpatrick said. “So, there’s some good coming out of the bad.”