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Spirits not dampened at Steubenville Christmas parade

YOU BETTER BE GOOD - Santa points to the crowd Saturday during the Steubenville’s Sights and Sounds of Christmas: Nutcracker Magic Parade, sponsored by TEAM Automotive. The rain resulted in a slightly smaller crowd than previous years and about a dozen units dropped out because of the weather. -- Mark Law

STEUBENVILLE — Umbrellas were in hand and the Christmas spirit was in hearts as hundreds braved the steady rain during Saturday’s Steubenville’s Sights and Sounds of Christmas: Nutcracker Magic Parade, sponsored by TEAM Automotive.

Steubenville Visitor Center Executive Director Judy Bratten said about a dozen units dropped out of the parade, but it didn’t diminish the holiday spirit.

“It was a lovely parade. It would have gone on for another half an hour if everyone showed up,” she said.

City Manager James Mavromatis said so many people work this time of year to bring the Christmas spirit to downtown Steubenville, from Steubenville Lights Up the Night, to the nutcracker village to the annual parade.

“This says a lot about Steubenville,” he said.

STAYING DRY — Parade viewers at the Steubenville’s Sights and Sounds of Christmas: Nutcracker Magic Parade came prepared Saturday with umbrellas in hand. The crowd was entertained with marching bands and floats during the hour-long parade. -- Mark Law

Former City Mayor Domenick Mucci, one of the three parade judges, said the rain didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit.

“The streets are getting packed,” he said.

Bratten said the rainy weather and illness going around the area resulted in a shorter than anticipated parade. About 100 units were expected, but only around 80 participated.

“That is just the way it is,” Bratten said of the rain. “Thankfully is is just a drizzle and mist.”

“It takes a lot of work and preparation to make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be, and to give organizers information on where everyone is supposed to be in the parade,” she said. “It takes days to get the lineup set up. We take into consideration the size of the unit, the number of walkers and the size of the float. We have people along the route to get the vehicles moving along. The local ham-radio group keeps the parade organized and keeps everyone where they should be.”

SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS — The Weir Marching Band was among the groups participating in the Steubenville’s Sights and Sounds of Christmas: Nutcracker Magic Parade on Saturday. -- Mark Law

Historic Fort Steuben took over the parade about seven years ago.

Since then, Bratten said the parade has seen all types of weather from balmy weather to cold and snowy.

Bratten said a lot of people come into the city to see the nutcrackers and then the parade.

“They make it a full day,” she said.

Bratten said a lot of communities don’t have a Christmas parade.

“We are blessed in the valley with the Christmas parades,” she said.

City Mayor Jerry Barilla had to do double duty during the parade. He rode in the mayor’s vehicle and then circled back to get on the fort float.

Bratten said she was grateful to Steubenville High School for allowing parade participants to stay warm inside the school until the parade began.

Representatives of three civic organizations were the judges for the parade — Mucci for the Steubenville Lions Club; Beth Rupert-Warren, Steubenville Kiwanis Club; and Mike Mehalik, Steubenville Rotary Club.

Mehalik said he takes the judging seriously.

“It is important to be fair, and hopefully it will be a hard decision,” he said.

Rupert-Warren said it was her first year as a judge.

“I am honored,” she said. “There is unity in the community. This is the epitome of everyone coming together.”

Justin Teramana of TEAM Automotive said the dealerships will do anything to help the community.

“The community is the reason we are in business. We want to thank everyone,” he said.

Mark Teramana of TEAM Automotive said, “The parade is a community event, and we see ourselves as part of the community.”

Isaac Stoutz, 9, of Steubenville stood on the sidewalk on North Fourth Street watching the parade. When asked what his favorite part of the parade was, he responded by saying he liked the Shriners cycles doing wheelies.

“The wheelies are so cool,” he said.

When asked what else he like, he responded by saying, “The umbrellas.”

Austin Ruble, 12, of Toronto, said he liked the music and the lights, adding he comes to the parade every year.

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