Frigid temperatures in the low 20s Wednesday evening didn’t deter area residents from celebrating the holiday season at Jeannette’s annual Christmas parade.
The 70-plus-unit event was augmented this year with “The Sparkle of Christmas” festivities at the Jeannette American Legion post, where the crowd warmed up to the sounds of the Jeannette Community Band and vendors offered seasonal crafts.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Judy Soles, event staffer and town planning commission member, of the crowds browsing and chatting in the Legion social hall.
“This is what the heart of Jeannette is: people coming together,” said her sister-in law, Dee Broman, a fellow volunteer . The Sparkle activities were a joint effort of the Legion and the town’s business association and recreation commission.
While peanut-butter kiss cookies were flying off the Heritage Baptist Academy table at the indoor bake sale, outside attendees were filling up on frankfurters and hot chocolate.
Attending the parade for the first time were Kim Grendel of Hempfield, who heard about the event from friends, and her daughters, Rae, 2, and Trista, 6, who cuddled up on a plaid blanket.
“We all have on double layers,” said Kim, who noted the event brought back memories of holiday parades she attended when she was a child.
Her daughters enjoyed having their faces painted inside the Legion hall but were anxious to return for a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus after the last marching unit passed by.
“This will be her first time seeing Santa,” Kim said of her youngest daughter.
Pam Errett of Jeannette, a longtime parade attendee, sat with two granddaughters and two daughters of a friend while another granddaughter marched with the Jeannette High School Band.
For the youngest girls, she noted, “Santa Claus is the hit.”
Recruited by local pet groomer Robin Evak, Murrysville resident Julie Shuss appeared for the first time in the parade with her daughter, Alyssa, and friend, Ava Ferguson, both 11, leading miniature horses. Bella and Stryker each had hooves clad in red-and-green striped socks.
“They don’t mind,” Shuss said of the horses. “If they’re handled from the time they’re young, they’re as smart as dogs. Bella has trick-or-treated many times with us.”
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.