Homecoming parade makes for great day

PARKERSBURG – Sunny and cool was the perfect recipe for the 2013 edition of the Parkersburg Homecoming Parade on Saturday afternoon.

Lori Ullman-Wright, co-director of the annual summer parade, said the high school bands, dancing and gymnastic troupes and floats in the parade made for a great day along Market Street, adding the parade had a total of 104 units.

“With some of the changes we had to make, this parade was spectacular, ” she said. “We had to make some changes in the staging area due to construction with the stadium, but people were patient and it was super.”

Ullman-Wright said Saturday’s weather was perfect for a parade.

“We were very fortunate,” she said. “It wasn’t too hot, it was spectacular weather. I was very excited, the parade looked great as it came down the street.”

Ullman-Wright said she had some concerns along the route for the parade.

“We had some people driving or removing roadblocks, they are there for a reason,” she said. “We put a lot of time and effort into letting people know about these events. We’ve had this parade for 30 years and the half marathon for 20 years, but some people are impatient.”

Ullman-Wright said Market Street is only closed a few times a year for parades, including Homecoming, Christmas and Easter.

Although the parade committee asked groups to not throw candy from their cars and floats, there were a few.

“We asked them to not do that, but if they had to we said they should toss it, not throw it, there is a difference,” she said. “Sometimes they can’t get enough people to walk with them so they can hand it to the children instead of throwing.

“We try to discourage but the committee members can’t be everywhere.”

Overall, Ullman-Wright said Saturday’s parade went well.

“This parade is a community event, bringing together a community to celebrate things in our community,” she said. “Where else will you see some of these things, it can spark interest in things and it’s recognition of the accomplishments of our students; we celebrate the children.”

Many who turned out for Saturday’s parade said they enjoyed the event.

Elizabeth Stockner and Amy Hulme were watching the parade from the upper end of Market Street and said they were pleased with the event,

“It’s one the best we’ve had in a long time and they had all three (county high school) bands,” Stockner said.

“We like the bands, we want to see more bands,” Hulme said. “It was nice to see Williamstown.”

Stockner and Hulme said along with the parade they also enjoy the fireworks and the free concerts associated with the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival.

“I used to go to the carnival every year, but my son is grown and has moved away so I don’t go to the carnival anymore,” Hulme said.

“I like the concerts on the river at the point,” Stockner said. “It’s the best amphitheater in the area.”

Liz Nutter, of Parkersburg, said she was disappointed with the parade on Saturday.

“I think Parkersburg could do a whole lot better, I really do,” she said. “I’d like to see some more music, we’re not enticing people to Parkersburg with this type of parade.”

Nutter said she did not find fault with the people in the parade.

“The people in this parade are great and they deserve a whole bunch of credit.”

Nutter said she also disliked seeing candy thrown in the street.

“I am totally and fully and irrevocably against throwing things in the street; hand the candy to the children or don’t do it,” she said. “You encourage children to run out in front of the traffic. I can remember we used to have some really nice-looking parades. What happened to them, where did they go?”

“I love a parade, it think it was great,” said Leslie Reynolds, of Parkersburg. “I didn’t know what the parade was for at first. My folks are both from the area, born in Wood County, but I moved here a while back from Florida and I love this town, I just love it.”

Steve Nulter said it was good to see how much of the community was involved.

“I like it, it’s always good,” he said. “It’s nice to see the different businesses and others get in it.”