WEIRTON - It's going to be a brighter and more active Christmas in Weirton this year.
With two weeks before the start of the Christmas season in the community, a variety of activities are being added to the festivities surrounding the Weirton Christmas Parade on Nov. 24.
The parade itself, organized by the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce and titled "A Brighter Christmas," will begin at 6 p.m. on Main Street with participants traveling between Virginia Avenue and Marland Heights Road.
It is sponsored by First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union, Weirton Medical Center, Tri-State Audiology and West Virginia Northern Community College.
The parade will be followed with a fireworks display, made possible by Hancock County Savings Bank, Cattrell Companies, MedExpress and Marsh Pipe and Supply, with the fireworks being set off behind Municipal Plaza.
But that's not all to be taking place downtown that day. A variety of activities is being planned to complement the parade.
"We're encouraging people to come into town early," Chamber President Brenda Mull said.
Many of the events will begin at 2 p.m., with area businesses and organizations involved.
The Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, for example, will feature the return of the Christmas Snow Village model train exhibit, which will be on display at the museum, 3149 Main St., from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
A collection to help the less fortunate is in the works through the efforts of Wine and Beverage Merchants and Greco-Hertnick Funeral Home. A truck will be in the funeral home parking lot during the day to collect a variety of materials.
Socks and gloves will be collected for the Weirton Christian Center, toys will go to the Weirton Salvation Army and food will be for the Community Bread Basket.
Between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., the Weirton United Way will provide an opportunity for kids to get their pictures taken with Santa Claus inside the Weirton Room and the Millsop Community Center. There will be a charge of $5 per picture.
Also at the community center, will be the annual Christmas Tree Display Contest where, for a $1 donation, residents will be able to pick their favorite tree decorated by area businesses and organizations.
The Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau also has gotten into the act, and is planning a craft show at the community center, with up to 12 area vendors set to show off their crafts and other products.
Mull said many of the businesses downtown will be open throughout the day, and encourages residents and visitors alike to take time to stop in and see what many of them have to offer while they are waiting for the parade to start.
"Saturday is Small Business Saturday," Mull said. "Stop in and see what our local businesses have to offer."
As organizers anticipate a large crowd to come out to see the festivities, those coming downtown are encouraged to arrive early and make use of the off-street parking areas available, which will include the Weirton Event Center.
Parking on Main Street will be restricted beginning at noon, and no traffic will be permitted on Main Street between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. that day.