Northern hosts holiday event

Katie Buda

With help from ASNMU, public safety and Golden Z, the University Center will be holding its 24th annual Christmas-time event, Lighting Up the Holidays Wednesday, Dec. 5.
The event will include horse-drawn hayrides, pictures with Santa and a reception.

“Except for having one horse pull the carriage sleigh ride, this year we will have two horses,” said Cindy Paavola, director of Communications and Marketing. “That’s the only minor change we’ve made.”

Free childrens books will be handed out by one of the event coordinators, Golden Z while children take pictures with Santa.

“My favorite memory is watching the children’s eyes light up when they realize they get to pick out any book they want, for free,” said Laura Klar Pless, volunteer at Golden Z. “Some kids pick immediately, while others spend a lot of time looking at all the books and trying to decide.”

Campus hayrides will run from 4:30 to 8 p.m., Tom Helgren, director of Auxiliary Services said.

Santa will arrive at 5 p.m. to take free pictures with children until 7:30 p.m. while Golden Z will pass out books to children.

As usual, all NMU students can attend and participate in activities free of charge.

There will also be free candy canes at the reception at 6 p.m.

Although Northern Michigan University President David Haynes will not be attending this year because he will be out of town, Paavola is still expecting a large turnout.

“President Haynes won’t be able to make it, however he plans to make-up for it by being there next year,” Paavola said.

Senior Kelsey Niemisto is looking forward to attending these winter festivities with her 3-year-old son.

“Last year his face just lit right up when Santa came out,” Niemisto said. “I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

Pless explains how Lighting up the Holidays is not just for the university, but for the community as a whole.

“It’s a special event NMU puts on for its community, the pictures with Santa and the books are free, there are refreshments and dancers,” Pless said. “It’s just a fun event.”
The NMU bookstore will also be holding its annual Holiday Sale, staying open until 8 p.m. that day.