By Elizabeth Lancaster
The Parsons Advocate
The City of Parsons celebrated “Home for the Holidays” Saturday evening with the annual Christmas parade and downtown festivities. A crowd gathered at the Courthouse square waiting anxiously for a ride in Santa’s sleigh, which was pulled by a horse in lei of reindeer. City Councilman Pete Roy said jokingly, “I was prepared to clean up after the horse, but I didn’t have to after all.” He had promised fellow City Council members if they agreed to install hitching posts in front of the Courthouse he would always be responsible for cleaning up after the horses.
The crowd was entertained by various individuals and groups singing Christmas carols on the steps of the Courthouse. A bonfire provided warmth and the opportunity to roast marshmallows. The Four Leaf Clovers 4-H group offered baked goods for a donation to their summer camp fund.
As they waited patiently for the parade to begin, the crowd witnessed a surprise wedding proposal. William Mccallister proposed to Amber McGee on bended knee in front of the Civil War memorial. McGee, who said, “YES!” was surprised and stated, “I couldn’t be happier.” Family members and Emcee Danny Barkley helped to set up the surprise.
The parade included a variety of emergency vehicles, floats and twirlette groups. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived at the end of the parade and stopped at the Parsons Fire Hall to visit with children and hand out treats. Photographer Susan Marks was on hand to take photos for a small fee. Fireworks were also part of the evening’s festivities.
Along with a few others, Parsons City Administrator Jason Myer dressed as an elf and served as Santa’s helper for the evening. Myers said approximately 30 entries were expected for the parade. A live nativity scene was planned by one of the local churches, but was cancelled due to poor weather conditions. Myers said the City and volunteers worked hard to organize the evening’s events, which were sponsored by the City of Parsons and Parsons ON TRAC.
Myers stated, “We like it when the community comes out and fellowships together. That’s what it’s all about−coming together to enjoy the town. I love it when there are people on the street. It’s a wonderful feeling−priceless. I love doing things for others. You’ve got to love what you do to do this job. After 13 years the labor of love is starting to show. We have a wonderful City Council and Mayor, who support such efforts. Previously the Christmas parade was funded by donations, but today it is paid for by the Harman Fund. This helps to prevent soliciting donations from local businesses already strapped this time of year.”
Mayor Dorothy Judy praised the efforts of City workers and volunteers. “I’m really pleased with the decorations this year, which extend to Pennsylvania Avenue and Mill Race Park. The City workers and volunteers have done a great job.” ON TRAC purchased banners for the new light poles for autumn and winter. Judy said they hope to purchase additional banners for spring and summer. “We really appreciate those participating in the festivities, especially the floats, groups, etc. in the parade.”
Award plaques were presented to the top three floats and twirlette groups participating in the parade. In the float division first place was awarded to St. John’s United Methodist Church, second place to the Four Leaf Clovers 4-H club and third place to the Nazarene Church. The Barbour County Strutters received first place in the twirlette division with second place awarded to the Backyard Barbies and third place to the West Virginia State Twirlettes.