PARKERSBURG - After hours of volunteer work, the annual Holiday in the Park light shows at City Park and Southwood Park were opened to the public on Saturday.
Tina Buchanan, president of the Holiday in the Park board, said the display at City Park enjoys community support that helps to make possible the lights put up by volunteers in both parks.
"They have spent hours and hours putting up these displays, rewiring them so they all work," she said. "They start their work in January."
Photos by Jeffrey Saulton
The gang from “The Peanuts” comic strip are among the displays at Holiday in the Park at Parkersburg City Park.
Buchanan said there are some changes in store for visitors to the display at City Park.
"New this year is Donkey from 'Shrek' and Lightning McQueen to the Mater display," she said. "We also have a new sailboat, nutcrackers and arches."
One change is a reverse of a change made last year. Buchanan said the lights for the 12 Days of Christmas have been returned to their place in the center of the park.
"Last year we moved them to different places in the park and the public didn't like it," she said. "So now they're back in the middle in order."
During Saturday's lighting ceremony, Mayor Bob Newell made a presentation to Steve Cox, head of the city's buildings and grounds department, who was chosen by the Holiday in the Park board as honorary chairman of this year's event.
"Every time you see an event in Parkersburg, whether it's in a park or downtown, you're going to see Steve Cox," Newell said. "This wouldn't get done without him or his crews. That's why he's the honorary chairman of the Holiday in the Park."
Saturday's ceremony was at the main City Park horseshoe pits. Santa and Mrs. Claus handed out candy canes and took gift requests from several children. Christmas carols were sung by members of the Hamilton Middle School Choir.
The Parkersburg Fire Department had one of its modern and its antique fire trucks giving rides through the park following the ceremony. The Henry Cooper Log Cabin Museum, operated by the Centennial Chapter of the Daughters of the American Pioneers, was also open after the ceremony and served refreshments to visitors.
According to organizers, covered wagon rides by Hardly Able Carriage Co. will be available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting, beginning Nov. 23 and running through Dec. 9. On Dec. 14, the company will begin offering nightly carriage rides through Christmas Eve.
A donation booth will be manned from 6-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6-10 p.m. on Friday through Sunday during the holiday season. The lights will be on from 6-11 p.m. every day. Letters to Santa Claus may be addressed and put in the drop box at the City Park Pavilion. Santa will be answering each letter. Donations will also be accepted to help with the displays.