Beckley’s Christmas Parade set for Saturday, December 2

Beckley’s Christmas Parade will fill downtown streets with holiday cheer on Saturday, December 2, at 11 am. Over 70 entries have pre-registered (as of November 28) representing schools, organizations, churches, businesses, and others. The deadline to register is November 30 (entry form available at Beckley.Events or call 304-256-1776). The YMCA’s Spirit of Beckley honorees Richard and Beth Jarrell will be the Parade Grand Marshals. This year’s theme is Christmas Villages. Marching bands from seven schools and the Mount Hope Regional Band will be featured in addition to numerous floats, vehicles, and walking units.

The parade line-up begins at 9 am at Park Middle School for floats and vehicles; people riding on floats can arrive around 10 am. Bands and walking units will line up at the Beckley Intermodal Gateway Plaza between 10:00 and 10:30 am and will be inserted into the parade as it arrives on Neville Street.  The parade can be viewed along Neville Street (from the Beckley Intermodal Gateway to Heber), part of Heber Street, plus Main Street to Kanawha, and circling onto Prince Street, ending at Leslie C. Gates Place.  Beckley Police Department has decided to extend the parade route a block (to Kanawha Street) due to the length of the parade.

Before the parade arrives downtown, spectators can hear Mount Hope Regional Band’s Brass Group, who will play a tune near the portable stage and The Raleigh Playhouse & Theatre. Parade Emcee will be Lola Rizer. The Elite Academy will be offering chili, blankets, and coats at Word Park Gazebo. Theatre West Virginia’s Training Academy plans to set up a booth with information about their upcoming youth theatre classes.  Also, visit downtown businesses who may be open before and/or after the parade – i.e., Fruits of Labor (open 10 am – noon with pastries and drinks), Taya and Abraham’s International Grocer, The Axe Hole, Scentister, Vinyl Tracks, and Diaz Floral.

After the parade, awards will be presented at the Raleigh Playhouse & Theatre lobby. Plus, WVU Tech will offer opportunities to take photos with Monty Elf and Santa and Mrs. Claus for an hour following the parade.

Other Christmas holiday traditions happening on Saturday include the Appalachian Coal Town Christmas Festival at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine from 5-9 pm. The How Great Thou Art Theatre Group will present Soul Train Christmas at The Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre at 7 pm, and Beckley Dance Theatre School presents The Nutcracker ballet at Woodrow Wilson High School Auditorium over the weekend. The Grinch will make an appearance at the Raleigh County Library between 12:30 to 2:00 pm. For more details about events, visit Beckley.Events community calendar.