We found a pretty good spot for seeing the tree, just across the street and down an intersection. And it was a good parade, too, pretty near an hour of school marching bands, floats from mostly local companies (Wal-Mart decorated a trailer truck, mostly with lights over the sun logo; I overheard multiple people talking about how Wal-Mart was their favorite store, and maybe an equal number about how they'd never set foot in one), and miscellaneous clowns and other feature attractions, including the half-dozen ``airplanes'' driven by a group promoting eye care. One of the great moments was the float from Preuss Pets, which followed its desert-island float with people under clear umbrellas playing the part of jellyfish.
Really striking was a huge goldfish float provided by a housing contractor (the scales were made of siding corner pieces), and one of the area bendy-buses made up like a caterpillar, which might seem like a complete non sequitur until you remember the area's transportation authority is CATA.
After the parade was the tree lighting; it's the largest tree the state's had. The lighting's mostly red with a couple bands of green. We expected the Mayor or the Governor or someone to make a speech, but if there was, we missed it. We weren't far from the Capitol, but then we didn't hear much of the Radio Disney host who warmed up ahead of the parade either. Well, we heard occasionally the words ``Radio Disney''. I'll charitably suppose they don't turn the volume up just for the brand name.
Wrapping this up were fireworks, which were launched from behind the capitol from our perspective. This was a great vantage point, not just because the dome and the tree made for fantastic framing but also because some of the downtown buildings with glass windows reflected the firework launches, fooling the eye into thinking there was stuff going on to the south just in time for the explosion to make the eye dart back.
After this, yes, everyone in the mid-Michigan area was trying to get out. But the buses were ready for the crowd; we got on the second of four or five and arrived where we started ahead of the first bus.
Trivia: Air in the Holland Tunnel is refreshed every 90 seconds. Source: The Know-It-All, A J Jacobs.
Currently Reading: The Uncertain Revolution: Washington and the Continental Army at Morristown, John T Cunningham.