Parades to bring Christmas cheer to Mid-Ohio Valley

MARIETTA — The start of the holiday season is marked by several indicators there has been a change in the atmosphere. Strings of lights, festive music and, of course, a holiday parade let people know Christmas is just around the corner.

Amy McDonald, board member with Marietta Main Street, said her organization usually helps plan the Merry-etta Christmas Parade, but this will be the first year they will have a float. The group’s entry will be an antique red sleigh transporting holiday cheer to the people of Marietta.

McDonald said the line up for the parade begins today at the corner of Fourth and Hart streets between 3:30 and 4 p.m. until the parade starts at 6 p.m.

“We have a great theme this year for the parade,” said McDonald. “We have a Whoville/ Dr. Seuss theme … the Grinch will even be there.”

Mayor Joe Matthews said the lighting of the Christmas tree at the end of the parade is his favorite part of the event.

“We have an artificial tree this year,” he said. “But it really helps because we don’t have to cut down a new one each time. The people of Marietta Main Street have really done a good job getting everything together for the parade.”

Debbie Cline, owner of Twisted Sister on Front Street and Marietta Main Street’s chair of promotion, said she has seen an increase in participation since she has been involved with the parade.

“(Last year) was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen,” she said. “It’s a great kickoff to the holiday season. It’s fun for kids and adults … you know, the big kids.”

Even though rain is in the forecast for this evening’s parade, McDonald said 44 organizations have already made plans to enter the parade.

Regardless of the weather, Matthews said he felt everyone should attend the parade.

Three other parades are also scheduled this weekend. The Belpre Holiday Lights Parade will be 6 p.m. today on Washington Boulevard in Belpre, while the fifth annual Williamstown Lighted Parade will be 7 p.m. today on Highland Avenue in Williamstown. The Beverly-Waterford Christmas Parade will be 5:30 p.m. Sunday starting at Waterford High School and ending at Dodge Park in Beverly with a tree lighting ceremony.