Sparkle in the Park lights up Bear Lake

BEAR LAKE — Years ago, the home of the Fred and Joyce Alkire family, of Bear Lake, would be lit up for all to see during the Christmas season … much like Bear Lake’s Sparkle in the Park has been for 10 years.

The Alkires were the inspiration for one Manistee County’s most popular holiday events.

This year, a couple hundred cars and even more people turned out Saturday for the opening of the 10th annual Sparkle in the Park at Hopkins Park in Bear Lake.

About four gallons of chili was served to the crowd of people, which ebbed and flowed throughout the evening.

“Everyone really appreciates (Sparkle in the Park),” said Pauline Jaquish, who along with a committee of 14 others, spearheads the event each year. “Everyone takes ownership of it.”

Santa and Mrs. Claus heard children’s Christmas wishes and posed for photos with them.

“It’s a real family event,” said Jaquish. “We always open it the weekend after Thanksgiving because people usually have family in town.”

The opening event also included a contest for the “Best of Show,” Rita’s Retreat won first place, Shreve’s Maple Syrup won second and Bear Lake Area Historical Museum took third. This was the first time for judging, which was done by three couples from the Sparkle committee.

Each year, Hopkins Park campground, located at 7727 Hopkins Drive in Bear Lake, comes to life with Christmas and holiday-inspired lighted displays.

The park features more than 50 displays with about 30 of this year’s sites built by businesses and community organizations, while the rest were put together by the committee.

The park will be open every night from 5 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 31. There is no entrance fee, but there will be a donation box near Toyland Bear Lake.

Jaquish said donations will help the committee purchase new lights and supplies for the 2015 Sparkle in the Park.

On Dec. 6, and every Sunday in December, carolers will roam through the displays beginning at 7 p.m. Anyone is welcome to join.

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Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

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