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Christmas parades light up Marietta, Williamstown, Belpre

The Toys For Tots train was one of the leading units in the Merry-Etta Christmas Parade on Saturday evening in downtown Marietta. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

BELPRE — Lighted parades celebrated the holiday season Saturday evening in Belpre, Marietta and Williamstown.

Despite rainy weather during the day and chilly temperatures in the evening, residents turned out for each of the parades which celebrated Christmas and the holiday season.

In Belpre, the Belpre Holiday Lights Parade was held at 6 p.m. along Washington Boulevard from Belpre High School to Howes Grove Park, with each entrant illuminated with lights. Following the parade, Santa Claus met with children at Civitan Park.

Among the people who braved the damp weather, Parkersburg residents Amber Estep and Jason Ellison came out with their children, Elena, 2, and Liam, 6 months, attended the Belpre parade to see the lights and as something to do as a family.

It was their first time watching the Belpre lighted parade and they liked the event.

Filling in for Santa and Mrs. Claus were Tom Dyar and Karen Schwendeman, who took holiday photos with kids following their ride in the Merry-Etta Parade. (Photo Provided)

“I think it was pretty good,” Estep said.

They also hoped to attend one of the daytime parades next weekend.

“More than likely, we’ll go to the Parkersburg one,” Ellison said of the Parkersburg Christmas Parade on Dec. 7.

In Marietta, Marietta Main Street decided to try something new to add to the excitement of the kick-off to the Christmas season on Saturday evening. At East Muskingum Park, the Merry-Etta Christmas Parade’s official ending point, there were small Christmas trees set up, along with refreshments and photos with Santa.

Over 50 floats made their way up Front Street waving at onlookers, handing out candy, and sharing the joy of the holiday season from their business or organization with the community.

Many large trucks and emergency vehicles made their way through Williamstown to join in festivities. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

The 50 decorated trees at East Muskingum Park are part of this year’s brand new Holiday Tree Walk, which were sponsored and decorated by local businesses and organizations.

“They are $100 a piece to sponsor, and the money goes to Marietta Main Street for city beautification and other projects through the year,” said Sheila Lovette, a volunteer on the Marietta Main Street Hometown Holiday Committee.

After the parade Santa took photos with the kids at the gazebo, and he will return to the park every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December.

“I am not sure how many years we have been coming to the parade, but it has been a long time,” said Daryl Jones, of Marietta.

Jones said he was particularly pleased with the decorated trees and photo opportunities with Santa.

A number of vehicles and floats were features in the Belpre Holiday Lights Parade on Saturday, all illuminated for the holiday season. (Photo by Wayne Towner)

“I think it is a great idea and the kids seem to really be enjoying the festivities,” he said.

The sixth annual Williamstown Lighted Christmas Parade was held at 7 p.m. Saturday in Williamstown.

“My family and I have attended all six years,” said Lindsey Keller, 14.

Keller said she normally walks in the parade, but did not this year.

All floats, vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and other units were lighted. Items for the Williamstown Food Pantry were collected along the route.

People not only enjoyed the Parade, but the kick off of this year’s brand new Holiday Tree Walk at East Muskingum Park. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Many participants tossed candy out to the kids, who were wearing an assortment of flashlight necklaces handed out by the Williamstown Middle School cheer team, so drivers in the parade could see them better.

Williamstown’s parade ended with refreshments and cookies in Tomlinson Park across from City Hall, handed out by the Williamstown High School and Middle School cheerleaders.

One more lighted parade was scheduled for this weekend. The Muskingum Valley Beverly-Waterford Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its Christmas Parade for 5:30 p.m. today. The parade forms at 4:30 p.m. at Waterford High School and will end at Dodge Park in Beverly with a lighting ceremony to follow. There will be refreshments by the Beverly Lions Club, photos with Santa and entertainment.

The annual Christmas parades in Vienna and Parkersburg will be Dec. 7, with Vienna beginning at 11 a.m. on Grand Central Avenue and Parkersburg beginning at 2 p.m. on Market Street.

Wayne Towner can be reached at wtowner@newsandsentinel.com

A number of vehicles and floats were illuminated for the holiday season in Saturday’s Merry-Etta Parade. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Madeline Scarborough can be reached at mscarborough@newsandsentinel.com

The Belpre High School Marching Band played music as it marched along Washington Boulevard on Saturday. (Photo by Wayne Towner)

Santa Claus closed out the Belpre Holiday Lights Parade on Saturday evening on Washington Boulevard in Belpre. (Photo by Wayne Towner)

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