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The area is making plans for the holidays

The Christmas holiday season is coming faster than we may realize, and although it is sure to be an unusual one, there are still efforts to offer ways to celebrate in our local communities.

The Weirton Chamber, as you may have heard, is planning two activities to celebrate the holiday season. (Full disclosure: I’m the sitting chamber board chair)

The first is the annual Weirton Christmas Parade, planned for Nov. 28. Weirton’s parade is always held the Saturday following Thanksgiving, and the chamber is actively seeking participants for this year’s event.

There are two major obstacles right now, though.

The first is there has been absolutely no guidance on parades offered by state officials in relation to COVID-19 precautions. I think everyone wants to have some type of community activity and celebration, but this virus is still a concern, so the chamber is looking at every precaution it can until some more formal measures are offered. That’s why there will be no ice sculptures, no judging, no candy thrown and residents are being encouraged to watch the live television broadcast. The chamber knows people will still be interested in coming downtown to see it, but they’re trying to be as safe as possible.

The second obstacle is that applications have been incredibly slow coming in from those interested in taking part. The parade typically features large floats, local high school bands, dance schools, decorated vehicles and more. As of Thursday morning, there had been maybe four applications turned in. Most years, there are close to 80 entries by the time the final deadline rolls around, so there’s a long way to go.

Without participants, there is no parade. A lot of work is going into putting this event together, but the chamber needs to know whether it will be worth it. If you’re interested in being part of the parade, please contact the chamber as soon as possible.

The other activity is the effort to “Illuminate Weirton.”

The chamber is selling luminaria, to include a re-usable bag and an LED tealight, for $2 each, with the goal of city residents and businesses placing them along as many of Weirton’s streets as possible the night of Dec. 19.

It’s a nice, new activity, which has the potential to grow in the years ahead.

I’ve heard Renaissance Weirton also is planning an event for mid-November. In past years, the city-affiliated group has hosted a tree lighting in the north end of Weirton. This year, I’ve been told, festivities will move to the front of the Millsop Community Center, and include entertainment, games and other attractions. I’ll be working to get more details on that soon.

One thing I can tell you about all of these events is there are plans for fireworks displays on all three evenings. Lighting up the skies above Weirton has increasingly become a part of celebrating Christmas, so residents will definitely have an opportunity to see them this year.

Other communities also are making plans for the holidays. I’ve heard some discussion for events in Wellsburg, Steubenville and Follansbee, although I’m sure there will be more. Wheeling is planning a smaller parade, also.

We’re all looking for that bright spot as we approach the end of this miserable year, and hoping for a better 2021. Things won’t be the same as we’re used to, but it’s great to see there are those stepping up in an attempt to at least try to give us all something to celebrate.

(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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