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There’s plenty to do

We seem to hear it all of the time — the familiar complaint that there’s nothing to do.

And, while that’s not true during the other 10 months of any given year, that sentiment rings especially hollow as we head through the last six or seven weeks of 2019.

Whether you’re looking to take in a parade, participate in a light-up event or just enjoy the holiday spirit, the calendar is full of many upcoming events.

One of the earliest indicators that the Christmas season is upon us came on Nov. 7, when the annual Winter Festival of Lights opened at Wheeling’s Oglebay Park. It’s a tradition that began in 1984, and one that has entertained not just residents of the Tri-State Area, but visitors from all parts of the country as well.

Things really start to get busy later this week. Friday, for instance, will bring the Faith in the Future prayer breakfast. This year’s speaker for the annual gathering, which is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. at Froehlich’s Classic Corner at the intersection of Fifth and Washington streets in downtown Steubenville, will be Jimmie Bruce, the president of Eastern Gateway Community College.

It’s a morning that features camaraderie and the opportunity to join in prayer to God for help in guiding the region’s business, educational, government and economic development efforts.

The cost is $10.

Weirton will come alive with the holiday spirit Saturday when Light the Night 2019 is held at the intersection of Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in the city’s North End. The evening, which will begin at 5 p.m., will include music, Christmas caroling, free food and treats, an appearance by Santa Claus and fireworks.

A toy and food drive, which will benefit the Salvation Army and the Community Bread Basket, will be part of the evening.

Area residents also will have the chance to purchase this year’s Success in Unity ornament, which is a tribute to the region’s Greek heritage. It’s the third in a series that started in 2017 with a salute to the city. The 2018 ornament honored the region’s Scottish heritage.

The week of Thanksgiving brings even more events, as communities light up for the holiday season, and streets around the region come alive with parades.

Toronto welcomes the holiday season on Nov. 26 when it holds its annual tree-lighting event at 6:30 p.m. at the downtown gazebo.

Steubenville’s Nutcracker Village and Advent Market officially open Nov. 26. The market will return beginning at 3 p.m. that day with the tree lighting and fireworks scheduled for around 6 p.m. The events mark the return of the 200 or so life-size nutcrackers to their late fall and early winter home. They will be on display until Jan. 4.

Many other activities are scheduled for the fort area during the month of December, including the blessing of the village Nativity scene and advent wreaths at 2 p.m. Dec. 1; the children’s lantern parade at 7 p.m. on Dec. 6; and the nutcracker drumline presentation featuring area high school bands at 4 p.m. on Dec. 8.

The region’s Christmas parade season begins in the afternoon of Nov. 29, when Wellsburg’s annual event is event. Weirton’s annual Christmas parade is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Nov. 30. Wintersville’s annual parade will begin at 3 p.m. on Dec. 1.

Mingo Junction will hold its annual tree-lighting at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2, and Toronto’s Christmas parade is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 7.

Steubenville’s annual Sights and Sounds of Christmas: Nutcracker Magic Parade is scheduled to begin at noon on Dec. 14.

That’s a lot coming up during the next several weeks. It’s not even a complete list, but it shows that no matter where your tastes lie or where you live, there are plenty of options to get out and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of the season with friends, family members and neighbors.

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

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