WELLSBURG - The Wellsburg Christmas Parade once again helped many residents to ring in the Christmas season with floats and other vehicles decorated for the occasion.
Begun by the Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce, the procession is a Wellsburg tradition that draws many from outside the city as well as local residents.
The parade opened with members of the Tri-State Marine Club, who served as color guard and were followed by several vehicles from area police and fire departments.
Santa Claus made a stop in Wellsburg Friday for the city’s Christmas parade and met with many children on the Wellsburg Town Square afterward. -- Warren Scott
Members of the Osiris Shrine jumped into their jaunty jalopies to form the group's Tin Lizzy Patrol, and the Brooke High School Marching Band, led by director Erin Steffy, delivered Christmas music.
Several area businesses and groups sponsored floats or decorated trailers with Christmas decorations or holiday-inspired scenes.
Members of several Brooke County 4-H clubs gathered on a float and trailer decked out with Christmas trees and candy canes, while the Brooke County Special Olympians were flanked by candy canes and Christmas lights on a float sponsored by Main Street Bank and Reasner Funeral Home.
Chambers and James Funeral Homes supplied the float carrying guest of honor, Santa Claus. St. Nick sat amidst an array of elves and giant Christmas bulbs, with a replica of his famous workshop behind him.
Decorated vehicles and trailers also were supplied by Domino's Pizza and A Child's Place Court-Appointed Special Advocate.
A few groups also took advantage of the occasion to help people less fortunate. Volunteers with the Brooke-Hancock American Cancer Society accepted monetary donations as they marched along a trailer carrying a Christmas tree of purple and white, the official colors for the organization and its Relay for Life fundraiser.
Kirk Kazienko carried on a tradition begun by his late father, Bernie Kazienko, with the aid of the Brooke High School Leo Club as he collected toys for underprivileged children. The toys were placed on a flatbed truck provided by Robert Scott Lumber.
And the Brooke County Salvation Army accepted donations of non-perishable food.
Tom and Sandy Isinghood and their 9-year-old son, Dakota, were among many local residents who donned hooded coats or jackets, hats and gloves to stay warm during the brisk early evening air.
The Isinghoods said they enjoy attending the parade together each year.
While the parade is a tradition for many attending, its spectators often include someone new.
Penny and Steve Durbin of Follansbee said it was the first time to the parade for their 1-year-old daughter, Madison.
"She came to see her cousins. They're dancers with The Studio," said Penny.
Girls from both The Studio and the Brooke High School Dance Team shared some fancy footwork with parade-goers.
Hollie Polen of Moon Township, Pa., said it was her first year for the parade also. She explained she came with her boyfriend, Joe Johnson of Follansbee, to see his children, Kaylee, a member of the Brooke band, and Dante, a Brooke 4-H member.
She added they planned to attend the Weirton Christmas parade today also.
Beth Carradine of Avella, Pa., came to support her niece and Brooke majorette Angie Smith and brought along some friends who were new to the parade.
Asked what was most popular with her two grandchildren - Cole, 3, and Tyler, 2 - Penny Falbo of Wellsburg said, "Santa Claus, of course, and the fire trucks. They were fascinated with them."
Following the parade, Santa met with many children on the Wellsburg Town Square, which has been decorated for the season.
Mayor Sue Simonetti presided over the lighting of a Christmas tree donated by Pikevue Nursery.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)