PARKERSBURG - The fourth annual Mid-Ohio Valley Easter Parade on March 23 is in the final stages of planning as everyone is encouraged to participate to make this year the biggest event possible, an organizer said.
"We are planning to make this the biggest and best Easter parade we have ever had," said event organizer Kiki Angelos. "We want more people in the parade and watching it than ever before."
Last year's event included about 80 floats and organizations and the committee hopes to see 100 or more for the March 23 event.
"Applications are still available and we want everyone to join us," Angelos said. "Churches, businesses, groups. Everyone."
Those participating are encouraged to use this year's theme of "Easter around the World" for decoration inspiration.
"The big float at the end will be Greek-themed since I'm from Greece with my grandkids in Greek costumes and Greek dancers around the float," Angelos said. "But I really hope people show off their heritage with decorations and costumes, no matter where their families are from; I want them to be proud and show it off for the parade."
Angelos said there are more events in the run-up to the parade, including an Easter bonnet decorating class.
The Salvation Army of Parkersburg Corps main building at 534 Fifth St. will host the class from 2-5 p.m. March 17. The class will cost $5 a person and includes decorations for hats participants bring from home.
"It's something new that I hope gives people some great ideas," Angelos said.
The Easter bonnet contest will take place prior to the parade behind Parkersburg High School as the parade participants line up to go down Market Street.
There will be a free children's breakfast at the stand-alone Chick-Fil-A in Vienna from 9-10 a.m. March 23 before the parade.
The parade will begin at PHS and move down Market Street at 2 p.m. with Mike King, president and CEO of Camden Clark Medical Center, serving as this year's parade marshal.
Winners of the Easter bonnet contest as well as The Parkersburg News and Sentinel Easter story contest winners will be riding in convertible cars during the parade.
Angelos said she is grateful for the enthusiasm and help from the parade committee in organizing and getting the parade going each year.
"I would not be able to do anything like this parade without my great committee," she said. "The preparation is overwhelming; when I started this four years ago, I had no idea so much went into a parade, but I know this year's will be a successful event because of my committee."
Applications to participate in the parade are available at both Chick-Fil-A locations and Auntie Anne's Pretzels in the Grand Central Mall as well as the Vienna City Building.