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Chamber announces plans for ��hristmas Experience’

  ��njoy CHRISTmas. It’s HIS Birthday. Enjoy Life. It’s HIS way.”  This famous Bronner’s tagline can still be heard by many as though Wally himself were reciting it. 

  The Christian roots of the community continue to be strong in Frankenmuth and there is much to be grateful for despite the challenges of 2020. Frankenmuth rallied around “Muth Means Courage” during the thick of the pandemic and that same courage continues as we approach moving forward safely. With the well-loved Christmas holiday around the corner, there is a renewed sense of purpose as we look to celebrating Christmas in Frankenmuth. 

  A Christmas committee was formed prior to the shutdown to start talking about a more coordinated Christmas effort that would not only appeal to visitors, but also to the locals. The group finally started meeting in late July and worked quickly to organize a new ��rankenmuth Christmas Experience” initiative that is safe and awe-inspiring.

  The Frankenmuth Christmas Experience is being led by the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau in partnership with the Frankenmuth Downtown Development Authority, as well as a diverse representation of businesses and organizations throughout the community. Even during a pandemic and severe economic downturn, Frankenmuth business and civic leaders have rallied to support the effort that will wrap 2020 up in a beautiful package by investing into the development of a whole, season-long experience that will create economic growth for years to come. The initiative includes a 3-year plan that expands with future additions such as an ice skating rink, a wooden German tower tree and additional promotional activities.  

  The goals of the group include creating a season-long “Wow” experiences that will spread people out over time & space, focus on a doing a few things really well and marketing the total experience collectively.  These goals make a conscious shift from an event-driven celebration that creates overcrowding on a busy day or weekend to one that intends to spread traffic out more responsibly.  “We want people to be able to experience a Frankenmuth Christmas even during the week when the crowds are traditionally smaller,” said Jamie Furbush, President of the Frankenmuth Chamber and CVB. 

  This year’s highlights will include a spectacular 40’ tall Christmas tree in Zehnder Park that will have an impressive show with Christmas music multiple times a day.  The tree is the first of its kind in Michigan and is something typically experienced in places with admission.  It will also remain lit for photos during non-show times and encourage guests to also reflect on the meaning of Christmas with the cherished nativity in the same area. The Holiday Celebration & Candlewalk, like most events in 2020, will not happen.  With the new tree, there will also no longer be a live tree in the Visitor Center Platz.  Instead, the Platz will be adorned with new décor for intentional photo spots for all who are looking to capture their Frankenmuth memories. Cozy spots to enjoy the winter in Michigan will be created, possibly including a fire pit. The experience will also begin to spread more throughout town with additional photo spots in open spaces such as the park near Star of the West.  Nearly 90 additional trees will be lit along Main Street and Weiss Street, including some “super trees” for added pops of color.   All of these efforts combined with increased engagement by many local businesses and Christmas will shine bright for 2020 and beyond. Collective marketing efforts will include a webpage dedicated to all the Christmas festivities around town.  A brochure with a map will also feature a driving tour of all the large lighted displays, a walking tour and all of the “stop & snap” photo spots.  The Frankenmuth Jaycees are also organizing a residential or neighborhood decorating contest. 

  The Chamber also hosted a workshop for local businesses to help those who want to be involved in a bigger way.  The Christmas toolkit for businesses is available to any local business and includes resources for designers, installers and suppliers of Christmas décor.  It is encouraged that businesses consider special holiday happenings as well.  Locals supporting our local businesses this Christmas season will mean more than ever.  Keeping the small businesses alive in our community during a pandemic is a like giving two gifts in one.  

  "Being home to the world’s largest Christmas store has put our little town of 5,000 on the map, across the United States, and around the world, most recently being named one of the "Bst Christmas Towns in America” by Country Living Magazine,” Furbush continued. "Frankenmuth deserves a Christmas celebration worthy of National acclaim and local pride. And as the countdown to Christmas begins, this might just be the best Frankenmuth Christmas ever.”

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