The Silver Bells in the City festival was founded in 1984 by the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. Over the years, it has become a full blown extravaganza that provides merriment, joy and fun to over 80,000 people, both locals and tourists. The event is free to all through the support of its numerous sponsors and passionate volunteers who willingly dedicate their time and effort.
During the festival, Downtown Lansing transforms into the Silver Bells Village. It features numerous stalls run by local vendors who offer homemade treats, from cookies and hot chocolate to tortilla chips and kettle corn, a variety of drinks, Christmas decorations and toys, and more.
One of the festival’s main attractions is the Electric Light Parade that features spectacular lighted floats, horse drawn carriages, high school marching bands, and more. By the way, the participating marching bands compete for the Best Illuminated Band awards during the parade. The parade culminates in the arrival of Santa, making Lansing one of the cities where Santa Claus arrives before Thanksgiving, the lightning of the official state Christmas tree in front of the State Capitol, and a fireworks display.
The parade is just the beginning! The program of Silver Bells in the City features a wide range of events and attractions for visitors of all ages such as community sings, live concerts, face painting, breakfast with Santa, the Silver Bells 5K, balloon animals, family photo booths, hands-on workshops, live radio broadcasts, and more.
Breakfast with Santa and the Silver Bells 5K are among the festival’s signature events. At breakfast with Santa, kinds can enjoy hot pancakes with various toppings, chat with Santa and Mrs. Claus, decorate cookies, write letters to Santa, and participate in art and craft workshops. The Silver Bells 5K is a 3 mile walk/run designed to support the festival and the Chris and Louise Holman Foundation.
Photo by Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau