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Wellsburg ready to ring in the holidays

Christmas parade, holiday market offer festivities for area residents

LOOKING A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS — Wellsburg Councilman Paul Billiard checks bulbs in a lighted snowflake at the city’s Central Park, which will be the site of the second Wellsburg Winterland Hometown Holiday Market from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 27. Billiard and several volunteers have been decorating the city’s Central Park, which is at 17th and Charles streets, for the holiday season. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — Two local events — one a longtime tradition and the other relatively new — will help area residents to ring in the Christmas season next week.

Festive floats, area emergency departments and dance troupes will be among many making their way along Charles Street on Friday when the Main Street Bank and Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade returns.

Eric Fithyan, who is in his eighth year as the parade’s chairman, said the theme will be “A Country Christmas,” with participating units invited to draw on various aspects of the country spirit.

He noted members of Cross Creek the Band will deliver their popular country sound while appearing in the procession, joining the Brooke High School Marching Band and others in supplying music for the occasion.

Fithyan said the parade’s main sponsor is Main Street Bank, which has arranged for the participation of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.

Other floats will be sponsored by the Follansbee McDonald’s, Reasner Funeral Home, Eagle Manufacturing and the chamber itself, with many other businesses also supporting the event.

Fithyan expressed thanks to Ingrid Loy, a marketing instructor at West Liberty University, and students in the school’s marketing club for designing a logo for this year’s parade and helping to promote it.

Participants in the parade will line up near the Wellsburg Kroger at 3 p.m., with Chamber President Luke Diserio and others set to conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony to kick it off at 4 p.m. near 23rd Street.

Fithyan said the procession will again make its way to the Town Square, where Cross Creek the Band will perform and the Clauses will meet with children.

The chamber also is planning refreshments and activities for the children.

And the parade will be just the start of holiday festivities for the weekend.

After debuting last year outside the Wellsburg Banquet Hall, the Wellsburg Winterland Hometown Holiday Market will return at a new location, the city’s Central Park at 17th and Charles streets.

With the help of several volunteers, Wellsburg Councilman Paul Billiard has been decorating the park with strings of multicolored bulbs, lighted snowflakes and assorted holiday figurines.

The group has been building on decorations sponsored by the Wellsburg Lions Club and local businesses.

Billiard said he sees many opportunities for the spacious park and is happy that Angela Staffileno and Johanna Weiler, organizers of the holiday market, have decided to take advantage of it.

Staffileno said the location is great because nearly 40 vendors, including several food trucks, have signed on for the event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 27.

She added there will be music by local disc jockeys Ron Music and Chris Knicely of Music Done Knicely from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the Russ Buchanan Band, another popular country band, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Music and Knicely recently organized a Halloween event at the park with help from many others.

Staffileno said the disc jockeys will take a break at 11 a.m. so pupils from Brooke Primary South can perform.

She added Santa Claus will appear at the park after taking a ride around the city while aboard the Wellsburg Fire Department’s ladder truck beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Staffileno said she got the idea for the market while studying economic conditions affecting small-town businesses for her master’s degree from Duquesne University.

She said she found that such community events boost local economies by attracting visitors to cities and communities, and she hopes the holiday market will do the same.

Staffileno said last year’s event suffered from heavy rain later in the day and an increase in COVID-19 cases around that date, but she still received positive feedback.

“I always wanted it to be outside,” she noted, adding she’s received advice and assistance from the chamber and volunteers behind the Wellsburg Applefest, another popular outdoor event.

Staffileno, who is now a clerk in the city’s water department, and Weiler, who is office administrator for the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, also have been organizing informal public meetings to gauge residents’ interest in improving Wellsburg parks.

Staffileno said proceeds from drawings held during the event and the sale of special T-shirts produced by Tri-State Custom Teez will go toward park improvements.

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