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It’s the season of giving and thanks

As this column is being written, I’m listening to the rain pounding on the roof of our building with the knowledge it is supposed to turn to snow at some point overnight.

Snow is another reminder that we are quickly approaching the holiday season. Weirton’s Light the Night was postponed because of the rain, and will now take place tonight at 6 p.m. at the intersection of Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

This has been a great event for the community, with hundreds often gathering at that streetcorner to watch a large Christmas tree being lit and a fireworks display overhead.

There will be refreshments provided by local businesses, a food and toy collection to benefit local charitable organizations and live entertainment.

Light the Night is organized by the City of Weirton and Renaissance Weirton.

With that, it will be only a few short days before Thanksgiving arrives.

The Weirton Ministerial Association will be hosting its annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Greater Weirton Senior Center, providing a traditional Thanksgiving meal for anyone who might be interested.

This has become a wonderful holiday tradition for our area. The meal truly is for anyone, whether you are looking for a hot meal, are alone for the day or just didn’t have the chance to make a family dinner. Just stop by.

Then, on Saturday, the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce has planned the annual Weirton Christmas Parade.

The chamber always tries to make each parade memorable, changing it to a night parade several years ago, and then adding fireworks and ice sculptures to the agenda of activities for the night.

This year, as you may have read on today’s front page, the parade’s grand marshal will be the unrestored P&W Bus No. 99, which recently was acquired by the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center. Many of our area’s residents will remember the P&W bus fleet operated by Starvaggi years ago. It’s a part of our history and it’s nice to see one of the buses return to Weirton so it can be remembered by future generations.

It also happens to be Small Business Saturday, a day that reminds us of the importance of supporting our locally owned businesses. Shopping local does more for our communities than we often think, and patronizing small businesses, as opposed to the large, nationwide corporations, directly benefits our neighbors, family and friends.

Wellsburg is planning its own parade, along with a light up and other festivities on Friday.

Steubenville’s famous Nutcracker Village soon will be unveiled for the 2019 edition, and many other events are in the works throughout the rest of our area.

So, yes, the holiday season is upon us. The countdown to Christmas has begun. Lights are being strung. Decorations are going up and celebrations are under way up and down the Ohio River.

The holidays have a special kind of magic, helping to remind us of some of the best aspects of humanity and of the importance of giving instead of receiving.

If you consider it, there is one other thing that connects all of these holiday events, and that is bringing our residents together as a community.

It doesn’t matter where you live, the Ohio Valley is home to all of us, and the holidays offer a chance for us to come together, whether you are from West Virginia, Ohio or Pennsylvania. It doesn’t matter if you call Chester, Follansbee, Wintersville or Wheeling home, because we have this connection and this time of year reminds us of that.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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