Macomb County Santa Parade in Mount Clemens

Rachel Yim, Science & Technology Reporter

For its eighth year, Oakland University will be joining the 44th Annual Macomb County Santa Parade on Saturday, Nov. 23.

The Santa Parade is presented by the city of Mount Clemens, featuring locals, the Grand marshal, variety of marching bands, elected officials and service clubs.

Brian Bouwman, director of enrollment and community engagement for the Macomb County Outreach, oversees event planning and coordination and academic programming.

“Oakland University opened the Anton/Frankel Center in downtown Mount Clemens in 2011,” Bouwman said. “Since that time, Oakland University has been heavily involved with the community of Mount Clemens including the annual Santa Parade.”

Usually having around 300 people from the OU community, this is one of the largest off-campus annual events where many will see OU support from all members of its community and the largest group in the parade, according to Bouwman.

OU is not only participating in the parade, but it also is hosting a food drive to support the Macomb Food Program (MFP) for its second year. According to an article from the Macomb Daily, MFP has provided support to more than 178,000 residents in Macomb county.

The chairperson of the Parade committee, Barbel Dempsey, said the OU community helped collect more than 3,800 pounds of food for MFP in 2018.

“OU has been a great partner with not only the parade, but with the City of Mount Clemens and Macomb county,” Dempsey said via email. “They go above and beyond to be part of the community.”

The first year the parade was held dates back to 1975. Since the parade is heavily dependent on its sponsors, she felt this was a tradition which could not be lost when she was told about the possible discontinuity of the parade due to lack of funding, according to Dempsey via email.

Then, she said she formed a parade committee which consisted of residents, business owners, and members of local service clubs with the help of the Mount Clemens Foundation. Today, with a sufficient number of sponsors and the committee’s collaboration with other organizations, the parade still continues its tradition in Macomb county.

“My goal would be that there would always be a Santa parade in Mount Clemens and that all the boys and girls today will have an opportunity to share this wonderful tradition with their children someday,” she said via email.

The community-wide food drive began Nov. 11 and will continue through Nov. 21. During this time, OU Anton/Frankel Center in Clinton Township plans on making donations of non-perishable and canned-food.

To express appreciation to the donors, OU Macomb Outreach office is providing promotional giveaway items for some donors who bring in food, according to Bouwman.

“We hope the feeling of helping others resonates with the Oakland University community, and that it will continue well beyond the holiday season,” Bouwman said. “And, it’s another way to help the cause, while also promoting the Oakland University brand to our faculty, students and alumni.”

For more information or to get involved, contact Brian Bouwman at [email protected] or 248-370-3910.