December 04, 2013 - Singer Perry Como was right – there's no place like home for the holidays, especially when its Oxford.
Ruth Patterson, of Oxford, is Grand Marshal of the Christmas parade. (click for larger version)
Holiday magic and seasonal warmth return to the historic downtown area this weekend with the popular Soup & Sweet Stroll from 5-9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6 and the highly-anticipated Christmas parade beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7.
No Grinches or Scrooges are allowed, so be sure to bring a smile, a kind heart and childlike enthusiasm to this year's festivities.
During the Soup & Sweet Stroll, local food-based businesses will set up hot soup and/or dessert stations along Washington St. (M-24).
Participating businesses include 'Wiches, Vendetti's, The Oxford Tap, Victoria's Delights, Casa Real, Ox Bar & Grill, Lili's Diner, The Burning Oak, Montana's Rib & Chop House, Sweet & Savory Bake Shop, 24th Street Sports Tavern, Red Knapp's American Grill and Lulu's Fish Market.
Only folks wearing special wristbands will be able to partake of the savory, signature soups and sizeable selection of sinful sweets.
Wristbands are $10 each, three for $25 or four for $30. Children under 12 can eat for free with the purchase of an adult wristband. Wristbands will be sold in Centennial Park from 4:45 to 7:45 p.m.
To help visitors keep warm this year, burning barrels will be placed around the downtown area. Folks are welcome to huddle around them, while roasting marshmallows and making s'mores.
After folks fill their bellies, they're invited to fill their ears and satiate their souls with the cheerful music of the holiday season.
Beginning at 7 p.m., Oxford students of all ages will be serenading the crowd in Centennial Park with a variety of Christmas carols, ranging from timeless classics to modern hits.
The Super Singers (students from Clear Lake and Oxford elementaries), the Oxford Middle School choirs and vocal soloists from Oxford High School will all be performing.
A special community sing-a-long featuring OHS sign language students will also take place at 7:50 p.m.
At 8:01 p.m., the village will flip the switch to light up the community's spectacular 50-foot Christmas tree.
Santa Claus will be on-hand spreading Christmas cheer with his helpers Jingle and Jangle. The jolly old elf will be available for photographs.
But that isn't the end of the holiday fun.
Get a good night's sleep and return to downtown Oxford on Saturday for the annual Christmas parade, organized by the chamber of commerce.
In honor of Oxford's connection to the iconic Lone Ranger character, this year's theme is "Western Christmas/Christmas of Yesteryear."
Radio actor Brace Beemer, who was the voice of the Lone Ranger from 1941-54, lived in Oxford for 23 years.
As always, the parade will consist of colorful floats, talented dancers, the OHS Marching Band, local businesses, nonprofit groups, service clubs, churches, animals, scouts, fire trucks and direct from the North Pole, Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The parade take place along Washington St. It will begin at Mechanic St., head north and end at East St.
The grand marshal for this year's parade is Ruth Patterson, wife of the late Bill Patterson, longtime pharmacist and Oakland County commissioner. The Pattersons had been married for 54 years when Bill passed in 2006.
"I feel very complimented," Ruth said. "I don't know that I deserve it, but I feel honored."
Ruth and Bill came to Oxford in 1964 and together, they ran downtown's Patterson Prescription Pharmacy for 30 years.
Ruth wore many hats to keep the business going, from "soda jerk" to pharmacy technician, the latter of which didn't require a formal education "in those days."
She still works behind-the-scenes at the store, handling the bookkeeping and payroll for her son-in-law Tim Davidson, who's owned it since 1994. Ruth noted that Patterson's Prescription Pharmacy will celebrate its 50th anniversary in January.
Over the years, Ruth was active in the Parent Teacher Association, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and the Oxford chapter of the American Business Women's Association.
That was on top of raising five children.
Today, she's still a member of the Oxford United Methodist Church and enjoys spending lots of time with her grandchildren.
Before, during and after the parade, folks from the Salvation Army's Echo Grove Camp in Addison Township will be in Centennial Park distributing free coffee, hot chocolate and cookies. Donations to the Salvation Army will be accepted, but are not required.
Following the Christmas parade, folks are welcome to stop by Centennial Park and visit one-on-one with Santa himself.
Kids are invited to tell the Big Guy what they hope to see under the tree on Christmas morning, while parents are invited to capture those precious moments with a photo or two for the old scrapbook.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.