Thousands flock to Ida for annual holiday festival, parade of lights

IDA, Mich. (13abc Action News) - It has been hailed as the "granddaddy" of all light parades.

"I'm glad to see this one," said Jason Jacob. "This one gets a lot of attention. Apparently it's one of the best."

For 35 years now, on the first Saturday of December, the Village of Ida has welcomed those from near and far to help it usher in the Christmas season.

"I like lights, especially Christmas lights," said Carissa Lanham of the festival's numerous lights.

This year's parade featured more than 125 brightly-lit floats, entertainment, food and fireworks.

The whole ordeal draws a huge crowd. Normally, the population of the small town is a little more than 400. During the festival and parade, organizers say the number jumps closer to 50,000.

While many come for the glitz and glamour of the holiday lights, others enjoy taking in the small town charm.

"Just all the people and the excitement in watching the comradery, and it's just a great small town atmosphere," said Vi Krug.

And that's exactly what organizers say the parade, and holiday season, are all about.

"It's where people come to make memories and make new traditions," said Dale Zorn, executive director of 'Christmas in Ida.' "Families are really an important part of this—that families come to visit and enjoy."