For all the doom and gloom, rumors surrounding the downtown Kalamazoo Holiday Parade turned out to be just that, so the news that the parade is going to happen comes as a bit of a surprise.

The Downtown Kalamazoo Partnership announced Thursday that they've signed an agreement giving management of the Holiday Parade to longtime parade sponsor Maple Hill Auto Group. The DKP will still be involved in promoting the event and related holiday season events.

"Under the agreement, the 59-year-old parade will be planned and managed by longtime presenting sponsor Maple Hill Auto Group, with the Partnership continuing to focus on enhanced events and activities downtown with an eye toward increasing foot traffic and further supporting shopping and dining for Kalamazoo merchants throughout the holiday season." - Downtown Kalamazoo Partnership news release

Previous stories (and some rumors and hearsay) this summer about what wasn't going to happen had some downtown merchants unhappy, but the release today covers all the annual holiday events.

"The parade, a longstanding community tradition, will return this November and lead into downtown’s holiday season, which will include Small Business Saturday Weekend Nov. 26-28 and weekly holiday events and activities throughout December. These will include Downtown Dollars shopping incentive programs, Santa’s Workshop, Holly Jolly Trolley and the annual window decorating contest, among others." - Downtown Kalamazoo Partnership news release

Like retailers everywhere except online, downtown Kalamazoo merchants are hurting financially with the pandemic and with the employment crisis. This effort could stimulate some business to return to the area.

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