Parkersburg, Vienna residents get in Christmas spirit with parades, Winterfest

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with two small helpers, greeted parade goers at the end of the Parkersburg Christmas Parade.

PARKERSBURG — Thousands gathered in Vienna and Parkersburg on Saturday for the annual Christmas parades and more took advantage of holiday activities in downtown Parkersburg organized by Downtown PKB on Saturday evening.

The 2017 Holly Days Vienna Christmas Parade ran along Grand Central Avenue on Saturday morning under partly cloudy skies with a slight chill in the air. The parade ran from 47th to 23rd streets in Vienna with a variety of units, floats, bands, vehicles and walkers.

Deanna Argabrite, of Vienna, and her daughter, Parker, 4, were among those lining Grand Central Avenue on Saturday morning. Having recently moved from Parkersburg to Vienna, Argabrite said they generally go see the Parkersburg parade but were enjoying Saturday’s event in Vienna.

“It’s pretty good, we had a good times,” she said.

Following Vienna’s event, Argabrite said they would probably go Christmas shopping, get a Christmas tree and visit City Park during the evening for the Holiday In the Park light displays.

On Saturday afternoon, the annual Parkersburg Christmas Parade traveled along Market Street in downtown Parkersburg as thousands more watched.

In lieu of an entry fee this year, for the first time at the Parkersburg parade each unit had to donate at least 10 non-perishable food items, including canned goods. All supplies collected will be distributed to area food pantries for the Christmas season.

Parade co-chairman Lori Ullmann said she wanted to thank all of the participants who donated food items, especially CSL Plasma which was the largest donor with 10 cases of food. A final total was still being tallied, but Ullmann said many hundreds of food items were collected.

Christine Walker, of Parkersburg, said this was the first time she had been to the Market Street parade in a few years.

“There was so much,” she said. “It was a lot of fun to see with all the floats and bands.”

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton Ryan Victory, of Parkersburg, concentrates on a drawing during the Sheetz Coloring Contest in the Judge Black Annex during the 2017 Winterfest.

Paul Walker said this was his first time to see the Parkersburg Christmas Parade.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said.

Mary Workman, of Parkersburg, was at the Parkersburg parade for about the first time in 30 years. She said the one she saw Saturday compared favorably with those from the 1980s.

“Actually it’s a lot bigger,” she said. “We were here to see my granddaughter’s friend in the parade.”

“It was awesome, awesome,” said Brenda Roye of Parkersburg. “It was a good parade this year.”

Photo by Wayne Towner Greenmont Elementary School had a float in the Holly Days Vienna Christmas Parade along Grand Central Avenue in Vienna on Saturday morning.

Following both parades, downtown Parkersburg was full of activities Saturday afternoon and evening for Winterfest. Several downtown businesses were open, along with various downtown museums and attractions. There were horse-drawn wagon rides, live entertainment at Bicentennial Park and the annual Christmas tree lighting and fireworks at the park and Parkersburg Municipal Building.

Wendy Shriver, executive director of Downtown PKB, said this year’s Winterfest was boosted by great weather that lasted all day.

“This was a big turnout, probably the biggest in our three years,” Shriver said. “The weather was perfect and we had some new things this year.”

Shriver said in addition to a coloring contest sponsored by Sheetz, they had pop-up vendors in a vacant downtown storefront and in the Point Park Marketplace

“We had eight different vendors in the former Classic Plastics Toy Store and we had some at the marketplace,” she said. “This gave some people some opportunities to shop downtown. They are pretty much people with home based businesses.

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton Members of the Schrader Youth Ballet Company’s Schraderettes make their debut at the 2017 Winterfest in downtown Parkersburg.

“It’s an opportunity for those without a store front to come and set up.”

“We really liked the Christmas parade, the floats were really good and the weather was not terrible; it was sort of mild,” said Jo Hendershot of Marietta. “We came last year and we ended up in the car part of the time.”

Her daughter, Caity, said she liked the carriage ride and seeing Santa Claus. Her son, Dustin, said he enjoyed the music and fireworks.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce, along with a number of Parkersburg City Council members, turned out for the Christmas tree lighting and to set off the fireworks display.

Just before the lighting Santa Claus was asked if the mayor and council were on the good or bad list.

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton Keisha Ford, left, of Belpre, works on an entry for the Sheetz Coloring Contest in the Judge Black Annex during the 2017 Winterfest as her mother, Niyah Ford, right, watches.

“They’re all on the good list this year,” he said.