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Floats, holiday spirit attract all ages to Winter Fest Parade

by Trish Rudder

More than 2,000 people attended the 5th Annual Winter Fest Parade on Saturday, December 4. As the sun set, it was good parade weather – still in the 40s with a slight breeze.

“Kids” from toddlers to grandparents lined Washington Street in downtown Berkeley Spring to watch the 40-plus entries parade down the town’s main thoroughfare that brought enjoyment to the crowd.

Granddaughter Austin Wallace, age 7 and grandson Easton Wallace, 3 were visiting grandparents Lionel and Karen Monteil of Berkeley Springs who attended the Winter Fest parade on Saturday.

The Buck Family from left: May, age 9, Jacob, 3 with mother Mary, Olivia, 14, William 11 and father Lee enjoyed visiting Berkeley Springs and watched the parade on Saturday.

Dakota Carder was dressed in a Santa suit for the parade and stood on the back of The Bug Man’s van, owned by her father, Jeff Carder.

 

The youngest in the crowd screamed in delight as they gathered wrapped candy that was thrown from the floats to them.

Berkeley Springs sisters Carol Klaproth, Connie Yost and Sandra Drake sat in lawn chairs on the sidewalk in the same spot as they did in 2019 – the last Winter Fest Parade – since the parade was cancelled in 2020 because of Covid-19.

They praised the town’s Christmas decorations. “We enjoy all of it,” said Klaproth. “Especially the decorated parking meters. They are fantastic this year,” said Yost.

Berkeley Springs residents Lionel and Karen Monteil brought grandkids Austin Wallace, 7, and Easton Wallace, 3 to watch the parade. The grandkids were visiting from Baltimore, Md.

Austin was exited to learn that candy would be thrown from the floats.

The Buck family was visiting from University Park, Md. The family with four children rented a cabin and attending the parade was a first for them, said mother Mary Buck. They were going to see the Christmas movie at the Star Theatre after the parade, she said.

While still getting ready for the parade, one of the parade entrants — the Morgan County Girl Scout Troop 40463 — sat on their float, wearing masks for safety, held placards that read “Eat More Girl Scout Cookies.” The troop is led by Amanda Kesecker and Erin Marshall.

“We do it for the kids,” was a common theme among the participants that were putting the finishing touches on their floats before the parade began.

Jeff Carder, who had three entries for “The Bug Man,” has lived in Berkeley Springs for 25 years. He said this is the first year he was a parade participant and that “The Bug Man” has received “tremendous support from the community.” His daughter, Dakota, dressed up in a Santa suit, stood on the back of the van in the parade.

Many Berkeley Springs businesses with big rigs were well decorated with many lights. The Pentoney Brothers float had Santa standing and waving to the crowd, while his “elves” all dressed in costumes, walked alongside and threw candy to the kids.

Right after the parade, the Christmas tree on the Fairfax Green was lit by special needs person, Emma Ullom, 18, who threw the switch. After the tree was lit, Emma said she really enjoyed the holiday lights. Her family owns the Beehive Café on Washington Street, said her dad.

Remarking on the holiday spirit of the crowd, Bath Councilman Rick Weber said, “This is a community working together with [Bath Christmas Project president] Hunter Clark’s vision to make this community shine at Christmas.”

Bath Mayor Scott Merki was glad to see a large turnout, too.

“This community is getting back together,” he said.

The Pentoney Brothers float was decorated from top to bottom and with Santa and his elves participating.

The Great Cacapon Fire Company engine was all dressed up for the Winter Fest parade on Saturday.

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