WEIRTON - Downtown Weirton was aglow Saturday night as the Weirton Christmas Parade helped to kick off the holiday season locally.
Dubbed "A Night Before Christmas," the annual event held by the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce ushered in the Christmas festivities a little differently this year, taking place in the evening and with many of the entries covered in lights as well as their holiday decor.
Weirton Chamber President Brenda Mull explained they have been discussing the possibility of holding the parade at night the last few years, and felt the time was right.
"It was a great success," Mull said. "We appreciate everyone supporting us. We couldn't have had a better night."
Sponsors for the parade included First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union, Tri-State Audiology, Weirton Medical Center and West Virginia Northern Community College.
Mull also wanted to thank the members of the chamber's Special Projects Committee, which organizes the parade each year, making particular note of Joe Stankiewicz and Rich Young, as well as Chamber Office Manager Amber Nest and Chamber Member Services and Programs Coordinator Patty Soplinski.
The employees and families of First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union rode along on the credit union's float. The local credit union was among the parade's sponsors this year. -- Craig Howell
West Virginia Northern Community College, one of the parade's sponsors, was among the local institutions helping to spread some Christmas cheer with their float in Saturday's parade. -- Craig Howell
Members of the Weir Middle School band were among those taking part in Saturday's Weirton Christmas Parade. Several local school marching bands performed for the crowd lining Main Street. -- Craig Howell
Representatives of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northern West Virginia, as well as several area Wish Children, greeted the crowd along the parade route Saturday night. -- Craig Howell
Dennis Jones, president of the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, waves to area residents watching the parade Saturday night. The museum recently moved into its new building on Main Street, and currently has a Christmas Village and train set on display for the public. -- Craig Howell
"They've put a lot of work into making this night parade a success," Mull said.
Residents lined up along Main Street where more than 80 entries from local businesses, schools and civic organizations traveled through downtown and helped to spread some Christmas cheer.
"We've got a lot of floats and a lot of participation," Mull said, noting the warmer temperatures Saturday couldn't have made it any more perfect for the parade.
In addition to asking parade participants to include lights on their entries, the chamber had requested for businesses along Main Street to decorate their store fronts with some type of holiday decorations in the hopes of increasing the Christmas atmosphere.
Mull also encouraged residents to take some time and visit the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, where a 30 foot by 30 foot Christmas village and model train display will be set up throughout the holiday season.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)