By Megan Pennefather • MIRROR STAFF WRITER • November 16, 2008
The way Royal Oak School of Rock and Pop founder Jason Gittinger sees it, he’s not just teaching kids how to rock, he’s teaching them how to rock for the benefit of others.
“I’ve got to make them realize it’s not about them, it’s about other people, and making other people happy,” said Gittinger.
That’s a big part of the reason a few of Gittinger’s students from the School of Rock will be seen playing “Jingle Bell Rock” on a float in the seventh annual Holiday Magic Parade in downtown Royal Oak next week.
The city’s Downtown Manager Stephanie McIntyre said the teen band was an appropriate addition to this year’s parade.
“It’s a great fit,” she said. “It’s a kid band, and this event is really geared toward kids and families.”
This year’s event will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, with downtown shops opening their doors for special sales. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. on Washington Avenue at Lincoln and heading up to Fourth Street.
In addition to the School of Rock, there will be floats, marching bands, the MEGA ’80s, Candy Band and the Luther Keith Badman Blues.
New this year will be free parking throughout downtown from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., McIntyre said. “People can come downtown without having to worry about feeding the meter.”
Real reindeer from a farm in Clare will make an appearance this year, as well as Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce members forming a drum line using items that represent their respective professions.
Of course, nobody can forget Santa Claus, who will be the grand finale of the parade and will welcome visits from children at the Stagecrafter’s Baldwin Theatre from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
McIntyre said she’s expecting around 20,000 people to come out for the parade next week. “It has been increasing in population over the years,” she said.
For more information and to see participating retailers and the parade route in detail, visit downtownroyaloak.org or call (248) 246-3065