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Christmas Parade celebrates community

December 3, 2013

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Santa made an appearance downtown during the 61st annual Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade last year.

ROCHESTER — The 62nd Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade is ready to roll, headed by two dedicated members of the community.

John and Mary Modetz will lead the parade down Main Street starting at 2 p.m. Dec. 8. The couple was chosen to serve as parade grand marshals by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce parade committee from community member nominations. 

The couple has been involved in the Christmas parade since they first moved to Rochester 28 years ago.

“I used to pick up Santa at his home,” John Modetz said. “Last year, I was in the parade as a snowman. It was too hot.”

According to parade sponsors — the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce — John and Mary Modetz have served on myriad community organizations throughout the last several decades, including involvement with Oakland University, Crittenton Hospital, the Rotary Club, the American Heart Association, the Rochester Downtown Development Authority, the Rainbow Connection, the Rochester Woman’s Farm and Garden Association, Rochester Community House and the Older Persons’ Commission.

Mary Modetz is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and serves at Veterans Hospital in Detroit and the Michigan Veterans Foundation homeless shelter. John and Mary Modetz own and operate Modetz Funeral Homes, located in Rochester, Waterford and Orion Township.

The couple aims to include 2-year-old granddaughter Zuri Mae in their grand marshal seats. 

“I love the kids and the expressions on their faces when Santa comes by,” Mary Modetz said. “We are hoping to use our Model A car to ride in on.”

This year’s parade will include a collection of snowplows decorated by Rochester Community Schools students. Rochester Hills city officials challenged middle and high schools to create a design reflective of the winter season or showing community pride during the recent Paint the Plow event.

Rochester officials, residents and Main Street businesses look forward to the parade every year.   “We are straight in the middle of the parade street route,” said Andrew Vickers, general manager of Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters, which will be open during the parade. “It will be a blast. It is such a cool event to have in a city like this.”

“The parade is an institution for Rochester,” said Rochester Mayor Jeff Cuthbertson. “We are happy to honor John and Mary Modetz for their service to the community.”

The Christmas parade will also feature Junior Grand Marshals Nicholas Ang and Michelle LoPiccolo. The junior grand marshal selection is an effort launched by Rochester leaders to encourage student involvement in community organizations and events. This year’s junior grand marshals will receive $1,000 scholarships from Genisys Credit Union.

The Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade begins at 2 p.m. on the corner of Tienken and Rochester roads. It travels down Main Street and ends at Second Street at approximately 4 p.m.

About the author

Staff Writer Linda Shepard covers Rochester Hills and Oakland Township for the Rochester Post. Shepard has worked for C & G Newspapers since 1998, graduated from Oakland University and is a past winner of the Michigan Press Association award. Shepard takes an avid interest in Detroit’s history and current rebirth.

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