Our communities are filling with cheer

The Nativity is in front of the Millsop Community Center. The giant Santa Claus, I’m certain, soon will follow.

Festive lights will be going up along many of the poles lining Main Street, Penco Road and other areas of the city.

The Weirton Christmas Parade, organized by the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, is less than two weeks away.

The Weirton Light Up Night, organized by the City of Weirton and the Renaissance Weirton committee, will be held this Saturday, with the official community Christmas tree going on display for the season.

Halloween is over and, even though it’s still early in November, the signs of the festivities of Christmas are staring us in the face.

I might not personally be ready to start celebrating, but the communities around us certainly are getting into the holiday spirit.

Across the river, in Steubenville, the area around Historic Fort Steuben is being decorated, and we soon will see the return of the Nutcracker Village.

The lights officially went on at Oglebay Thursday for the annual Festival of Lights, which will see thousands drive through the park through the first of the year to see the various illuminated displays and listen to holiday music.

Decorations and trees have been on sale in a variety of local stores.

Santa Claus will be making appearances throughout the Ohio Valley.

Many of us are awaiting Thanksgiving, but Christmas is definitely on its way.

The holiday spirit has been growing in Weirton in recent years.

The annual Christmas Parade has always been a highlight of the season, but has been finding ways to become a landmark event remembered for years to come.

The Weirton Chamber decided a few years ago to make it a night parade, and added a fireworks display. That’s something that hadn’t been seen in any other local town.

Last year, they added the idea of ice sculptures to the mix, with many lining Main Street the night of the parade and then going on display in front of the Millsop Community Center to be viewed until melting away.

The sculptures are sponsored by area businesses and individuals, and will return this year. There also will be a live ice carving demonstration.

This year’s parade will include bounce houses and a band performing at the community center, and the Weirton museum is bringing in a magician that afternoon.

I’ve heard there are potentially plans for more attractions by other local groups for that evening, also.

The parade is a community event, and the entire community should be getting involved.

If you are a business in Weirton, especially in downtown, I would encourage you to put up some decorations, or maybe contact the chamber to see if there might be something you can do to further enhance the celebration.

I also hope to see as much of the city turn out that night, making sure you view the parade in a safe manner, and enjoy the celebration.

We can’t forget the Weirton Light Up Night this Saturday, either.

The mayor and Renaissance Weirton will once again light the official Weirton tree at the corner of Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

There also will be fireworks, entertainment, and the unveiling of what the mayor plans to be the first in a series of commemorative Christmas ornaments.

Christmas is a time for family and friends to come together. It also is about community.

Just as it is showcased in this first ornament, and through the history of our towns, we all have different backgrounds and come from different places.

We also are a community that sticks together when it matters most. I don’t just mean Weirton, but all of the Ohio Valley.

We lend a hand to our neighbors when things are difficult and work together to find a better future.

That is shown the best this time of year, as we gather for numerous festivities, celebrate the season and remind ourselves of the importance of community and the Christmas spirit.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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