PARKERSBURG - Two parades welcomed Christmas to the Mid-Ohio Valley on Saturday as the annual events took place in the morning in Vienna and in the afternoon in Parkersburg.
Despite the cold - but sunny - weather Saturday, crowds lined the streets in both cities.
Both parades were led off by the Patriot marching band from Parkersburg South High School and ended with the Big Reds from Parkersburg High School ahead of Santa Claus. Both parades also featured a number of units ranging from re-enacting the Biblical account of Christmas to snowmen, gingerbread houses and classic cars.
Vienna and Parkersburg Christmas Parades
At the Vienna parade Morgan Raley, of Vienna, brought her 7-month old puppy to see the parade. She said she has been to most of the parades for the past 18 years and her puppy Diesel was along for the event.
"This is the first time for him at this and he seems to like it," she said.
Doyle Burkholder was at the parade with his two grandsons.
Photos by?Jeffrey Saulton
Santa Claus makes his arrival at the end of the Parkersburg Christmas Parade.
Several clowns were on hand from the Nemesis Temple Shrine to greet young and old parade-goers alike.
Super Zach was the character in the parade who wanted to help Santa deliver gifts.
"We come every year with the kids and now the grandkids," he said.
Ann Coffman said she thought Saturday was the perfect day for a Christmas parade.
"It was a delightful day and the weather was good for this time of year," she said. "I'm here with 3-year-old granddaughter, Natalie."
And The Winners Are...
In Parkersburg, the commercial unit winners were: first, Stevens Outdoor Railway; second, Suddenlink; and third, Lemon and Barrett's. The non-commercial unit winners were: first, CASA; second, Toys for Tots; and third, Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
In Vienna, the commercial unit winners were: first, Woodcraft; second, Stevens Outdoor Railway; and third, Joe's Backhoe.The non-commercial unit winners were: first, St. John United Methodist Church; second, Vienna Baptist Church; and third, Vienna Childcare.
Coffman said Natalie has been the Christmas parades before and she enjoys them every year. When asked, Natalie said there were three things she liked about the Vienna parade.
"I liked Santa Claus, the clowns and the bands," she said.
In Parkersburg the Elder family said they enjoyed the city's annual event.
"It's really nice," she said. "It's a little cold. My son, Conner, liked it too, he's like us it's cold."
Ben Elder said they liked one of the units.
"We all got a kick out of Super Zach," he said.
Lori Ullman-Wright, class instructor for the broadcast program at Wood County Technical Center and co-director of the Parkersburg parade, said this year's parade had 125 units. She said Kyle Stewart, an actor from Clarksburg, portrayed Santa Claus in the parade and the role of Mrs. Claus was played by Linda Craig. Ullman-Wright had the role last year.
Ullman-Wright said the parade was in honor of Rachel Greenwalt, a former WNUS personality who is battling a rare form of cancer. She said Greenwalt's daughter Iris, 6, and Vera, 3 rode in the parade.
In Vienna, Cindy Buskirk completed her first year as parade director. For 16 years she was assistant director to Betty Carpenter who retired after last year's parade.
Buskirk said the major change this year was a new ride for Santa Claus in the parade.
"We got a sleigh this year," she said. "Last year he was on top of a fire truck and that just has too far away from the street, especially the little children."
Buskirk said the new sleigh float was made under the supervision of Bob Marshall, a Vienna insurance salesman, and his son, Bobby.
The honorary co-marshals for the parade were retired Vienna police chief and former Wood County Commissioner Gary Deem, who was not able to attend, and Jayson Morris, a member of the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department.
On Saturday afternoon, Parkersburg police reported a 6 year-old female jumped from a float in an apparent attempt to retrieve candy from the street while it was at the 17000 block of Market Street. Reports said she jumped from an area of the float in front of the tires and was struck by the float. She was transported to the St. Joseph's Campus of Camden Clark Medical Center and was being treated for non-life threatening injuries. The investigation was still in progress by Patrolman J. Blevins at this time.