by Trish Rudder
The third annual Town of Bath Winterfest Parade held on Sunday, December 2 — a day later than planned because of rain –had an estimated crowd size of 2,500 to 3,000 people in spite of the foggy night.
Before the parade began, many people that gathered on Washington Street talked about how beautiful the holiday decorations were done by the town Christmas Decorations Project committee led by resident Hunter Clark.
Resident Beth Michael thought the holiday decorations in town were special. She said “it was like living in a Hallmark Christmas town,” and friend Tammy Unger agreed. They said they will take some time walking around town to see all the decorated parking meters and the decorated windows of the town businesses.
Securing spots on the corner of Fairfax and North Washington Street, Michael and Tammy and Robbie Unger with fourth grade Warm Springs Intermediate School student, Jordan Unger, 10, attended the parade for the third year. He said he expected some things to be different in the parade, but he likes the candy that is thrown from the floats to the kids.
To the delight of all the kids, a lot of candy was thrown into the crowd. One boy picked up so many pieces, when he leaned down to pick up more, candy fell out of his pockets.
Heather Kucharski and her three children, Cayleigh Kucharski, 4, Connor Knight, 7, and Chelsea Welker, 10, said they attended the Winterfest Parade for all three years and enjoyed it each year.
Grandmother Hazel Waugh brought her grandchildren Daniel Kesner, 10, a fourth grader at Warm Springs Intermediate School and Heidi Kesner, 8, who attends Widmyer Elementary. This is also their third year attending the Winterfest Parade. They like to see Santa Claus and the Grinch in the parade, Daniel said.
Floats and fire trucks were decked out with colored lights and the Berkeley Springs High School Band marched and played to the delight of the crowd.
Bath Mayor Scott Merki, who walked in the parade, said on Monday that the parade went well and the Winterfest and Christmas Decorations Project committee members “did a great job” again this year.
Before the tree lighting that occurred after the parade on the Fairfax Green, members from the JoyEl After School Program and Morgan County Home School led the crowd in singing Christmas carols.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) heard of the efforts of Hunter Clark and the Christmas Decorations Project. Kathleen Stotler, State Veterans Affairs Liaison for Capito’s office, read an appreciation letter to Clark before the Christmas tree was lit, ending the Winterfest parade festivities.
In part, Capito wrote: “your kindness and generosity has not gone unnoticed by your community and it is the actions such as they many you have taken, that reminds us what the season is truly about.”
Clark said he wanted people to know that resident Kathy Fowler won the photo contest for the best picture of the Berkeley Springs Castle. The winning photo will be on the 2019 Town of Bath Christmas ornament.
Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer said the Christmas decorations in town and the Winterfest parade “is positive energy brought back to town in a world where we need it.”