by Jill P

Giant cold air balloons, marching bands, unique floats, and holiday themed units will entertain nearly 30,000 spectators expected to view the annual Kalamazoo Holiday Parade, presented by Maple Hill Auto Group, Saturday, November 14 at 11:00 am in downtown Kalamazoo (step off is at 10:45 am).

holiday parade route

An annual tradition and celebration to spark the holiday spirit in downtown Kalamazoo, this year’s parade is presented by Maple Hill Auto Group and hosted by AM590|FM96.5 WKZO, City of Kalamazoo, Public Media Network, Downtown Kalamazoo, Inc., Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, Adams Outdoor Advertising, and Discover Kalamazoo. The parade will follow the traditional route: Lovell to Park to Michigan Avenue to Pitcher, and will be broadcast live on Public Media Network channel 187 at 11:00 am starring Ken Lanphear and Jim McKinney from Midwest Communications.



Giant balloons from Starbound Entertainment will amaze viewers as they float to the beat of Western Michigan University’s Bronco Marching Band along with 10 area high school bands. Six balloons will float in this year’s parade: “Scooby Doo” sponsored by Public Media Network, “Mr. Turkey” sponsored by Meijer, “Twinkles the Snowman” sponsored by Consumers Energy, “Santa” sponsored Educational Community Credit Union, “Daniel the Tiger” sponsored by Community Healing Center S.T.R.E.E.T. After School Program, and “Bugs Bunny” sponsored by WNWN Radio affiliated with Midwest Communications. It takes about 125 balloon handlers to fly the balloons.



The Kalamazoo Holiday Parade will feature 95 registered units, including about 40 floats and is scheduled to run for 90 minutes. Spectators will have a chance to vote for their favorite parade unit. There will be QR code signs along the parade route as well as included in the parade brochure where voters will be directly linked to a voting page. The URL is: The voting begins at 11:00 am on November 14 and will end on the following day by 5:00 pm. The winner will be selected based on the highest number of votes received.

marching band


One of the highlights of the parade is the WMU Bronco Marching Band, sponsored by Discover Kalamazoo. What is not seen during the parade is the preparation and the networking that occurs before the parade starts. As the WMU Bronco Marching Band warms up in the MPI Parking Lot, the area high school marching band members can connect, chat, and watch the Bronco Marching Band and be mentored by their amazing presence at the parade. It is truly a town/gown opportunity to celebrate the power of WMU within our community. The marching bands continue to be the highlight of the parade and represent many communities throughout southwest Michigan, and they include:

Battle Creek Central High School Bearcat Marching Band
Battle Creek Lakeview High School Spartan Marching Band
Comstock High School Marching Band of Blue
Galesburg-Augusta High School Ram Marching Band
Hackett Irish Marching Band
Kalamazoo Central High School Marching Band
Kalamazoo Loy Norrix Marching Band
Kalamazoo Christian High School Marching Band
Three Rivers High School Wildcat Marching Band
Vicksburg High School Marching Band



Throughout the parade, Loy Norrix High School Peace Jam volunteers will be collecting canned goods and cash donations for the Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes Food Drive. Meijer has donated all of the shopping carts. Food carts will start along the parade route at 10:30 a.m. and conclude by noon. The food drive tradition was originally started by the Loy Norrix Peace jammers. New this year, Adams Outdoor Advertising is hosting a donation booth, where people who donate will be immediately displayed on the digital billboard on Michigan Avenue, for all of downtown to see. The digital board is on top of Old Peninsula BrewPub at the corner of Michigan and Portage Streets. Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes needs our help, donations, and partnership in feeding Kalamazoo’s community in need.



Volunteers are instrumental in coordinating the parade line-up staging areas, assisting with carrying balloons and helping to “wrangle” the spectators. Volunteers are still needed and anyone can sign up on line up until Friday, November 13 – the link is: Interested volunteers can also sign up by calling the event team at 269-388-2830.



Immediately following the Kalamazoo Holiday Parade, the Kalamazoo Mall will be transformed into a dance party sponsored by Maple Hill Auto from around 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm. There will be much fun to have with all of the as Local dance studio, Momentum, will be on the mall to celebrate the power of movement with line dancing.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be on the Kalamazoo Mall greeting families, kids, and even a pet or two. Kodiak Construction will feature their mascot with games and cool prizes. McDonald’s will have samples and coupons. And, Brain Balance and Grace Harbor will feature really cool activities. The Department of Public Safety will have their fire truck, bomb squad, and officers will allow kids to climb, explore, and experience the world of Public Safety. And, of course, there will be arts and crafts tables where kids will have fun making a special holiday-themed craft.



Many downtown stores will be offering special sales and offerings so that parents and families can dance about on the mall and even pick up a few cool things from the local businesses including:

Kalamazoo Public Library (315 S. Rose St.) – from 11 a.m. – 1 pm stop by the library and make holiday crafts with pinecones, scratch art and more.
Kalamazoo Valley Museum (230 N. Rose St.) – 12-4 p.m. Celebrate diversity by creating crafts and gifts from around the world. Admission is free!
Ladies Library Association (333 S. Park St.) – After the parade the Ladies Library Association will host their annual Bazaar Sale along with soups, sandwiches, pie and tours.
Kalamazoo Civic Theatre– Take a break from the cold and step inside a warming hut, with hot chocolate, coffee and cider.



A special thank you to all of the Kalamazoo Holiday Parade sponsors:

Presented by: Maple Hill Auto Group

Sponsored by: AM590 WKZO | Midwest Communication Group

Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Kalamazoo Valley Community College

City of Kalamazoo

Public Media Network

Discover Kalamazoo

Irving S. Gilmore Foundation

Hosted by: Downtown Kalamazoo, Inc.

Balloon Sponsors: Meijer, WNWN-WIN 98.5 FM – Midwest Communications, Community Healing Center S.T.R.E.E.T. After School Program, Public Media Network, Educational Community Credit Union, Consumers Energy


Hope you have a great time at this year’s Holiday Parade!







By | 2015-11-11T05:32:33+00:00 November 10th, 2015|Categories: Around Kalamazoo, Kids, Newly Published|Comments Off on The Kalamazoo Holiday Parade on November 14 – A Great Kickoff to the Holiday Season!

About the Author:

Jill is a mom of a busy 9 year old son. When not working the website, Jill likes to hike, cook, and read in her free time.