Beckley, WV – (WWNR) – People young and old lined the streets of Beckley Saturday for the annual Christmas Parade. Floats embodying the theme of Christmas Villages rode thru downtown Beckley and participants threw candy to the kids.
“We had such a good turnout,” said Jill Moorefield of Beckley Events. “The community really supported it. We had so many entries over 80 that were registered and some others just showed up. So it was a really big parade. We had seven or eight bands and just thank everybody that participated. And then the crowd was huge that turned out to view it.”
The parade ended in the traditional way with Santa and Mrs. Claus. There were also appearances by the Grinch, elves, dance troupes, walking units and military vehicles. This year’s Grand Marshals were YMCA Spirit of Beckley Honorees Richard and Beth Jarrell.
“How about that? I mean, who knew, you know?” said Richard Jarrell. “So finally getting to be the Grand Marshal of the parade you’ve been going to since you were, you know, probably seven years old. I never dreamed this big, really, quite honestly. I mean, this is quite an honor. It’s humbling. And I just never even thought that it would be a day that this would come about.”
Southern Communications was one of the businesses with a float in this year’s parade. Lola Rizer, mornng show co-host on 103cir was once again parade emcee.
“I think this is like the third or fourth year I’ve been so fortunate to be able to do it.” said Rizer. “It is always a blast when you have a theme and to see what everybody does with it.”
“With our float, we teamed up with Leonard Trailers and Buildings. And ours is every village needs a radio station.”
There was also music from the Mount Hope Regional Band’s Brass Group. The Elite Academy offered chili, blankets and coats at the Word Park Gazebo. Theater WV’s Training Academy handed out hot chocolate and information about their upcoming youth classes.
After the parade, awards were handed out at the Raleigh Playhouse and Theater Lobby The best overall entry was the ACT Academy of Careers and Technology. First place in schools was Career Connections. The first place in Civic Clubs was 4 H. The non profit business went to Jackie Withrow Hospital. Best Church was Cranberry Baptist. First place Business wasHome Breathing Care. The best high school band went to Woodrow Wilson. Best middle school to Shady Middle.
After the parade, people could have their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the WVU Tech building on Neville Street.