With clear skies and a nip in the air, thousands lined Weirton's Main Street Saturday afternoon for what has become the traditional start of the holiday season for the community; the Weirton Christmas Parade.
The annual parade, which traditionally has been held the first Saturday following Thanksgiving, started making its way down Main Street just before noon, with residents standing along the route from Virginia Avenue to Marland Heights Road.
The Weirton Christmas Parade is organized each year by the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce.
The members of the Weirton Steel Corp. 25 Year Club served as this year’s honorary grand marshals for the Weirton Christmas Parade. The organization, which includes individuals who have worked at Weirton’s mill for at least 25 years, have been involved in numerous community activities over the years, including assisting with Weirton’s Christmas lights. -- Craig Howell
Representatives of the Make-A-Wish Foundation were among the local organizations taking place in the Weirton Christmas Parade Saturday afternoon. -- Craig Howell
First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union, which also served as one of four sponsors for this year’s Weirton Christmas Parade, entered this float, built to resemble a paddleboat. Employees of the credit union, and their families, rode along Main Street during the parade Saturday afternoon. -- Craig Howell
The Generations of Steppaz dance group was just one of the many forms of entertainment taking part in the parade Saturday.
Kids from the Brenda Casey Dance Center also performed along the parade route, with members both on a float and walking down Main Street in Weirton. -- Craig Howell
This year's event was sponsored by Tri-State Audiology, Nick's Auto, First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union and Weirton Medical Center.
The honorary grand marshal selected this year was the membership of the Weirton Steel Corp. 25 Year Club, which includes the men and women who have worked at least 25 years at the local steel manufacturer.
Weirton Chamber President Brenda Mull said she was glad to see so many people come to see the event, adding she feels the clear weather helped to bring out the crowds.
"It just made it a perfect day," Mull said.
Those entered included several local dance groups, high school and middle school marching bands, and several area businesses, clubs and organizations. Local officials also took part, with many of those handing out candy and other treats to the children in attendance.
Another addition for this year's parade is the awarding of new trophies for those judged to have had the best floats in the lineup. The traveling trophies will be awarded to the winner of the best commercial float and the best home-made float. The trophies will be kept by the winner for the next year and returned to the chamber prior to the 2010 Christmas parade.
The winners will be announced at a later date.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)