WEIRTON - The cold temperatures and light snow flurries didn't put a freeze on the spirit of area residents Saturday as the Weirton Christmas Parade helped to usher in the holiday season.
Organized by the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, the parade was sponsored by First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union, Weirton Medical Center, West Virginia Northern Community College and Tri-State Audiology.
This year's parade grand marshal was Dennis Jones, president of the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, who said was was both "overcome" and "very appreciative" when he was told the news.
Weir Middle School band performs during the Weirton Christmas Parade
"I was real surprised," Jones said.
Following the parade's theme of "Christmas Dreams," the museum itself entered a float to officially announce its efforts to purchase a new building to house its collection of items connected with Weirton's history.
"This has always been our dream to get a bigger place," Jones said.
Parade grand marshal Dennis Jones, president of the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, waves to the crowd gathered along Main Street Saturday for the Weirton Christmas Parade. -- Craig Howell
Among those showing off their holiday spirit was the Weirton Christian Center, which had two floats in Saturday's parade, sponsored by Starvaggi Industries. The center operates two preschool sessions, as well as several after-school programs. -- Craig Howell
Members of the Red Knights West Virginia Chapter VI, a motorcycle club of area firefighters, helped to lead the parade Saturday, performing a flag ceremony at the judges' table. -- Craig Howell
Residents lined Main Street to watch close to 75 area businesses, school bands, dance troupes, organizations, elected officials and more took part Saturday, with floats decked out in holiday themes, including children dressed as snowmen, reindeer and Christmas trees; bands playing holiday music and an appearance by Santa Claus who waved to the crowd.
Other sponsors involved in the parade Saturday included James White Construction and Tri-State Medical, sponsoring the Santa Claus float; Starvaggi Industries, sponsoring the floats from Weirton Christian Center; and Jack Fowler State Farm Insurance, R.E. Saxon Jeweler, Paper & Press Ink, Steel City Monkey Bars by Georgeous Garage, Awesome Signs and Mainstream Physical Therapy, all of which sponsored the Make-A-Wish Foundation's float.
In addition to spreading some Christmas spirit through town, some of the entries also have an opportunity to win one of two trophies being presented by the chamber.
More photos of the Weirton Christmas Parade are available on our CU site
"We're doing the traveling trophies again," Chamber Office Manager Amber Nest said, explaining one trophy will be presented to the best commercial float and one for the best non-commercial float.
The winners will be able to keep the trophies until next year's parade.
Information on the winners was not immediately available.
The parade will be rebroadcast today at 11 a.m. on WTOV-9.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)