Annual Winter Fest Parade gives back to the community

by Trish Rudder

The 7th Annual Winter Fest Parade along Washington Street drew a large crowd again this year.

An estimated four thousand people came to the Town of Bath last Saturday afternoon, December 2. People stood, sat on the curb or brought collapsible chairs and waited for it to begin. Since stores were open, many took the time to Christmas shop.

Before the parade began, some of the 45 entries put the finishing touches on their floats north of town in the Moose parking lot.

The Winter Fest parade is administered by the Bath Christmas Project, Inc., and member Danielle Swope, who was in charge of the parade, was organizing the entries.

Nancy Yost and Jason Barnhart were decorating their entry “WV Miss Amazing- 2024 Teen Queen” for their disabled daughter Haley Barnhart who won first place in October.  Yost said Haley will participate in the national “Miss Amazing” contest next July.

WV Miss Amazing Teen Queen 2024, Haley Barnhart, will travel to Chicago to participate in the national contest in July.

Jeanne and Scott Lynch were getting their vehicle ready for their entry on “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” Jeanne wore a Santa Claus jacket and a green Grinch mask.

Scott is a former Berkeley Springs High School teacher who still works as a substitute.

“We like to give back to the community,” he said, which was the common refrain by many participants.

South Morgan Volunteer Fire Department president Dale Heironimus said their float design was from an idea by his daughter, Abby. Listed on both sides of the float are the words “Security, Armed Forces, Corrections, Law Enforcement, Dispatch, Fire Department and E.M.S.”

Abby Heironimus wanted the South Morgan Volunteer Fire Department float to honor all the organizations that keep us safe.

Abby, 20, wanted to recognize “all the organizations that keep us safe,” she said.

This is the first year for RTW Electric to participate in the parade, said owner Ronnie Wood. Lauren Wood and daughter Karli, were helping, while their dog Rubi was in the truck bed waiting for her first parade to begin.

The Pentoney Brothers Excavating, LLC float was filled with Christmas blowups, a front loader and wrapped in lights. Owner Casey Pentoney said employee Brittany Miller has been getting the float ready all week.

Frosty the Snowman was the theme of the Gat Creek Furniture float and owner Gat Caperton danced to the song in costume on the float. Gat Creek employees Cheryl Hook and Karleen Spielman said they were having fun and giving back to the community.

Sitting in fold-up chairs and wearing outer jackets to keep out the mildly cold weather, Steve and Lynette Golden said they attend the parade every year. Their granddaughter, Natalie Clark, age 6, was with them.

Natalie said she has been a very good girl and expects Santa to bring her just what she wants.

Steve and Lynette Golden brought granddaughter Natalie to watch the parade.

Mark and Cindy Haberkan spend time in their second home in Berkeley Springs as much as they can and are getting to know the area. This is their first Winter Fest Parade. They even brought their dog, Lucy to watch the parade.

“It was a wonderful parade,” said Bath Mayor Scott Merki who was waiting for the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony to begin on the Fairfax Green. When the tree is lit, it signals the official Christmas season has begun in Berkeley Springs.

Bath Christmas Project, Inc. president, Hunter Clark said “it went smoothly and was a great parade.”