Events a plus for our area

Big community events that are centered around the Christmas holiday always have had a couple of big things behind them.

First, of course, is to ensure that the spirit of the holiday remains alive from generation to generation in a format that can bring people from all parts of the community together.

Second, those events give communities a chance to show off everything that is good and to help showcase local businesses and attractions.

We’ve seen that on several occasions during the past few weeks.

In Steubenville, for instance, it’s estimated that more than 3,000 people gathered Nov. 21 in Historic Fort Steuben Park to view the additions to the Nutcracker Village, shop in the Advent Market and help the city celebrate the lighting of its official Christmas tree. Hundreds of visitors from around the Tri-State Area, the nation and, yes, the world, will visit the park between now and the end of the year to enjoy the displays and patronize the vendors in the market.

In Weirton, meanwhile, hundreds of area residents were on hand when the community officially lit its Christmas tree on Nov. 19, and many more gathered in the downtown area for a day of activities, including the chance to view 22 ice sculptures that were placed along Main Street. Thousands more lined the city’s streets later that night to see the city’s annual Christmas parade.

Large crowds also were on hand for parades in Wellsburg on Nov. 24 and Wintersville Nov. 26, when those communities put on their annual parades, and in Mingo Junction Monday night, when the village held its annual light-up night.

All are events that are important for the communities and the people who live in them, as we were reminded by Wintersville resident Bob Merriman. When Merriman speaks about a community event, his words carry a lot of authority. He’s a longtime member or Village Council, has volunteered to help with countless activities and served as the co-chair of the Wintersville parade.

“It’s nice to see familiar faces from prior years, as well as new faces turn out for the annual event, support their community happenings and kick off the holiday season,” Merriman told correspondent Jess Looman.

You can expect to see big crowds in downtown Steubenville again on Saturday, and in Toronto as well.

The Gem City’s annual Great Expectations Christmas parade is scheduled to light up the city’s downtown area starting at 5:30 p.m.

Before that, though, crowds will return to the streets of Steubenville for its annual Christmas parade. The Sights and Sounds of Christmas: Nutcracker Magic Parade will start at noon and follow the city’s traditional route south of Fourth Street. More than 70 units are expected to participate in the annual event. Trinity Health System, a longtime supporter of events throughout the community, has been selected as grand marshal. The regional medical provider is the presenting sponsor for the Nutcracker Village and Advent Market.

Those who attend the parade will have the chance to stay downtown afterward and enjoy the nutcrackers and market.

Steubenville’s parade, like every other community event held throughout the Tri-State Area, offers a great opportunity to share some time with your friends and neighbors, relax a little, enjoy our communities and take in the spirit of the holidays.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)