Parkersburg bundles up for Christmas parade

PARKERSBURG – Despite rain having fallen steadily throughout the day, many people braved the downpour Saturday to stand along Market Street for the annual Parkersburg Christmas Parade.

A few people bundled in winter coats, scarves and hats to ward off the cold while they also donned ponchos or raincoats and held umbrellas against the constant barrage of rain.

“Although the rain created a number of small situations and little issues, things actually ran smoothly,” said Lori Ullman-Wright, co-chairwoman of the parade. “It also created a situation where people were more concerned with being outside than their safety, at times.”

Even though some problems occurred because of the rain, it also helped bring out the good in people. Ullman-Wright added she was thanked by a woman whom she had given a pair of gloves she no longer needed.

“Really, the nicest thing happened,” she continued. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being thanked – despite the glitches, it is great to know innate kindness still exists.”

As the annual parade moved down Market Street after having gathered and been placed in the lineup at Parkersburg High School, the skies appeared to have opened further and the rain fell heavier than in the morning. Because of this, not only were viewers standing along the route covered in warm, often waterproof outerwear, participants on floats were also covered in wet blankets while they held umbrellas.

“Really, while the parade went on without a problem, the weather was not ideal,” said Ullman-Wright.

The wet conditions also meant parade participants had more than enough candy with many giving those standing along the parade route handfuls of candy, rather than throwing the pieces to the waterlogged street.

Despite the fact the high school marching bands who participated in the parade had all members wearing their long raincoats, many of the musicians also wore their Santa Claus hats while their instruments were decorated with Christmas items including sparkling garlands, battery-operated lights and ornaments.

Because of the rain, Ullman-Wright said a few registered participants did not show up, but there was still a healthy number of organizations, businesses and groups in the parade.

“Despite the miserable rain and bitter cold, there were still 86 units, which is large,” she said. “I really wouldn’t have expected that.”

Without the rain as a factor, Ullman-Wright said the success of the city’s Christmas parade is down to those who volunteer their time and services.

“We have students assisting with the line-up and helping those in the parade,” Ullman-Wright said. “Really, because of the rain we are having an excellent learning experience for the students.”