WHEELING - A bevy of bands, floats and dance teams joined Santa Claus to delight thousands of onlookers Friday for the Perkins Restaurant & Bakery Fantasy in Lights Parade in downtown Wheeling.
"I have been coming since I was a kid. It gets better every year," said Wheeling resident Vickie Bauer.
The parade featured 36 lighted professional and locally made floats and 17 area school marching bands. Characters entertaining the crowd included Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, Batman, Catwoman, Spider-Man, Captain America, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat, the Wheeling Nailers' mascot, Spike, and the Pirate Parrot.
Photos by Art Limann
Wheeling resident Denise Dunlap said the Ohio Valley Foot & Ankle Center "leg lamp" float was her favorite.
"I like all of them, but that one is the best," she said.
Coming down from Toronto, Sam Crawford and his wife, Marilyn, said the Wheeling parade is one of the best they have seen.
"It is really nice. We have been coming down for 10 years," said Sam Crawford.
Wheeling residents Breanna Jennison and Caitlyn Richards said the many dancers and floats combine to give the parade something everyone is sure to enjoy.
Frank Carolla, owner of Perkins Restaurant & Bakery in both Wheeling and Moundsville, said he is proud to be the lead sponsor of the parade, noting he just signed a new deal to continue as such for three more years.
"This is a wonderful event that kicks off the holiday season," said Carolla. "The weather is great this year, and everyone seems to be having a great time."
Continuing today and Sunday, WesBanco Arena is holding its annual Winterfest-Christmas in November at the arena. The traditional Christmas in November craft show features 135 vendors selling items such as pottery, woodworking, personalized Christmas bulbs and fully decorated trees. Residents can also look forward to the Winter Ice Fest, a seasonal favorite, that will offer free ice skating and skate rentals.