Events help show spirit of holidays

There are several events coming up during the next couple of weeks that have stood the test of time and continue to remind us of the importance of sharing the spirit of the holidays.

On Friday, the Rotary Club of Steubenville will hold its annual Christmas party for children with special needs. When the Rotarians, the children and their teachers and caregivers gather at Garfield East Elementary School, they will be renewing a tradition that dates back to 1929.

They’ll be treated to a meal, be entertained and experience the thrill of the holiday when Santa Claus delivers a present to each child.

It’s an annual tradition that continues thanks to work of the club’s members and board of directors, as well as Andrea Hale, the Rotarian who coordinates the event, and Keith Murdock, club president. It stands as a testament to the Rotary motto of Service Above Self.

At noon on Saturday, downtown Steubenville will come to life once again when the Sights and Sounds of Christmas: Nutcracker Magic Parade begins its march down Fourth Street. Presented by Eastern Gateway Community College, the parade will be led by grand marshal Alan Hall of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County. Hall, the longtime director and now assistant director, is being recognized for his efforts to improve and expand the library system.

One week from Saturday — Dec. 15 — will mark the return of the Ray Laman Children’s Party. This year’s event, the 40th-annual rendition, will take place at the Wintersville Fire and Rescue garage on Luray Drive, and will feature sing-alongs, appearances by holiday favorites Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman, elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Open to area residents who are under the age of 10 and who are accompanied by an adult, each child in attendance will receive a gift bag.

The morning is possible because of the continuing efforts of the Ray Laman Children’s Fund, a dedicated group of volunteers and a large list of area sponsors that includes individuals and businesses.

These events, which have continued for many decades, truly capture the spirit of the season, renew our faith in humankind and serve as yet another reminder that area residents are always willing to step forward and help others.