Vienna lights up its Christmas season

VIENNA – About 300 people turned out Tuesday evening for the resumption of a holiday tradition in Vienna, the Vienna Lighting Ceremony.

Organizer Linda Kern said bad weather and other factors in previous years had caused the lighting ceremony to lapse for two or three years, but community residents wanted to see it resume.

“We’re hoping it will be annual from this point on,” Kern said of the lighting program at the Vienna Community Building in Jackson Memorial Park..

Tuesday’s ceremony included welcoming words from local dignitaries and musical performances by student groups from Greenmont, Neal and Vienna Elementary schools and from Jackson Middle School. Following the lighting, everyone present was invited in the community building for cookies and refreshments donated by local businesses.

Vienna resident Jeremy Davis attended Tuesday’s ceremony with his 2- and 7-year-old sons, to see the light displays around Jackson Park and watch the ceremony.

“I think it’s good, I think it keeps people local,” Davis said of the program and activities in Vienna and elsewhere, although he was especially glad to see Vienna doing its own program.

“Having something in Vienna gives people an opportunity to see a lot more of things around town,” he said.

About 50 holiday displays have been set up throughout Vienna for the Christmas season and two of the newest were lit Tuesday as part of the ceremony. One was a new American flag exhibit and the other was a new artificial Christmas tree at the Jackon Park playground measuring 26 feet tall.

The tree was installed by the Vienna Parks and Recreation Department, consisting of a metal cage framing, plastic branches with needles and lights with a four-foot-tall lighted star on top.

“This is our first year” lighting the new tree, Kern said.

Kern said the lighting ceremony was the second of three Christmas events planned in Vienna. The Holly Days Pageant was held Nov. 9 and featured 51 contestants ranging from 1 month up to 22 years competing for titles in their age groups.

The Holly Days winners were recognized during Tuesday’s program, including: Baby Miss Holly Days Kaylee Drain and Baby Mr. Holly Days Chase Marra (0-12 months); Tiny Miss Holly Days Kendall Grant and Tiny Mr. Holly Days Jaxson Haught (1-2 years); Toddler Miss Holly Days Olivia Eakle and Toddler Mr. Holly Days Hunter Drain (3-4 years); Little Miss Holly Days Madison Veon and Little Mr. Holly Days Gavin Valentine (5-8 years); Junior Miss Holly Days Lakya Secrest (9-12 years); Miss Teen Holly Days Malana Hall (13-16 years); and Miss Holly Days Holly Emge (17-22 years).

The third event in Vienna’s holiday celebration will be the annual Vienna Christmas Parade at 11 a.m. Dec. 14 on Grand Central Avenue. It will be followed that afternoon by the Parkersburg Christmas Parade at 2 p.m. on Market Street in downtown Parkersburg.

Two more community lighting ceremonies are planned this week, in Williamstown and Parkersburg.

* The city of Williamstown will host its Christmas tree lighting event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in front of the city building on West Fifth Street, across the street from Tomlinson Park. The event will include refreshments and seasonal music.

* The city of Parkersburg will hold its annual holiday Christmas Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. Friday at Bicentennial Park on Market Street in downtown Parkersburg, next to the Parkersburg Municipal Building.

There will be seasonal music and refreshments. Following the ceremony, the Parkersburg Bicycle Advisory Board and the City of Parkersburg will sponsor a family-friendly bike ride from Bicentennial Park to City Park. Lights are required on all bicycles.