Local Lifestyle, News

Crowd enjoys biggest Winter Fest Parade yet

by Trish Rudder

Against a sharp wind and colder temperature, about 4,000 parade watchers were bundled up in coats, hats, gloves and blankets to see the 6th Annual Winter Fest Parade in downtown Berkeley Springs on Saturday, December 3.

Horses adorned with holiday lights were one of nearly 100 parade entries in the WinterFest parade. photo by Zachary Sipe

The floats, trucks and cars were decorated with an abundance of lights, and people threw candy on both sides of Washington Street to the delight of the kids who gathered up the wrapped sweets.

Parade organizer Danielle Swope said she was very happy with the 98 entrees this year and the large crowd who came out in spite of the chilly weather.     Swope was dressed as the “Frozen” Disney movie character, Elsa and stood atop the Percy Renovations float along with the blowup character, Olaf from the movie.  Olaf is the adopted Winter Fest Parade mascot.

Gates Automotive showed the crowd one of the prettiest decorated floats. Debra Gates said Candyland and Gingerbread was the theme this year.

She said the organization participates each year to “give back and to thank the community.”

Gates was sitting with family members who brought lawn chairs and found their usual spot on Washington Street. She was sitting with her mother Carol Klaproth, Connie Yost and Sandra Drake. The ladies have not missed a parade and were happy to see the town dressed up for the holidays.

They all said the decorations were even better this year.

Berkeley Springs High School marching band provided a soundtrack for the WinterFest parade on December 3. photo by Zachary Sipe

“This is our own Hallmark movie,” said Sandy Fischer, who attended the parade with husband Roger. They both were delighted with the decorations throughout the town.

The Mellott family of Braden, Maya and young son Brentley, who sat on his father’s lap and waved to the floats, said they enjoyed the parade.

“It’s better this year; each year it gets better,” Braden Mellott said.

While people waited for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony to begin, Great Cacapon resident and singer John Gasch, accompanied by organist Laura Mechem, led people in Christmas songs in front of the Christmas tree on the Fairfax Green, the median strip on East Fairfax Street.

Bath Christmas Project vice president Denise Selby moved the tree lighting ceremony up to 6:30 instead of 7 p.m. because people were getting cold.  The parade was over at 6 p.m.  and many people left afterwards.

Santa and Mrs. Claus lit the Christmas tree on the Fairfax Green with Cyruss Cole, age 7.

The official tree-lighting ceremony on the Fairfax Green was held after the Winter Fest Parade on Saturday.
Cyruss Cole flipped the switch with Santa and Mrs. Claus that lit the Christmas tree after the Winter Fest Parade. photo by Rachel Cole
Sandy and Roger Fischer enjoyed the parade again this year. photos by Trish Rudder
The parade was a first for Kinsley Nealy said mother Amber and father Kevin Nealy.
Gates Automotive family members were bundled up and sat in lawn chairs to view the parade. Left to right are Debra Gates, Carol Klaproth, Connie Yost and Sandra Drake.