Most Wonderful Time: Waynesburg's Christmas parade to offer livestream, acapella and more

A scene from the 2017 Downtown Waynesburg Christmas Parade. (Photo by Brett Spitznogle)

The Greene County Chamber of Commerce is conducting the 2019 Downtown Waynesburg Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. It will last about an hour and a half.

Melody Longstreth, executive director for the chamber, reminds residents living in the area that parking will be prohibited beginning at noon on parade day. Route 19 traffic will also be detoured between noon and 3:30 p.m. A detour route will be available for East – West traffic beginning at McCracken Pharmacy.

According to Longstreth, the 2019 Miss Rain Day Katie Swauger will lead this year’s parade. She will be joined by the chamber’s 2019 Distinguished Service Award winners, John “Buzz” Walters and the family of the late Brian Tennant, along with representatives from this year’s McCracken Legacy Award winner: Fox Ford.

Longstreth said she generally gets between 80 and 100 parade participants.

“It’s shaping up here,” Longstretch said. “I’m up to 88, I’m sure I’ll get more.”

As of Nov. 20, she received 11 confirmations for floats. As with previous years, six floats will be recognized for first, second and third places, Best Design, Best Spirit and Most Original.

“If you have a unit that’s in the parade, make sure you read and understand the directions to get to your parking space and if you have any questions, call us,” she said. “That would be the easiest thing.”

This year, the Chamber will Facebook Live the parade. Longstreth said this is the first Chamber event to ever be live-streamed. The stream will start on the chamber’s Facebook page, @GreeneCountyPaChamber, at 2 p.m.

“We have so many requests for people wanting to view the parade,” she said. “If grandma is in Florida and wants to see her granddaughter ride through the parade, she’ll be able to do that.”

Also new this year, an acapella group called The Flashbacks will sing the National Anthem in 4-part harmony, shortly after the parade’s start.

The Flashbacks is made up of Tom Ankrom, Waynesburg’s chief of police, Randy Pettit, who now works at Waynesburg University, and Tim Bennett, who, according to Facebook is an evangelist who conducts a traveling musical ministry. Braxton McCollum of Waynesburg studies theater arts at Point Park University and is filling in for the group’s fourth member, Jerrod Jesso, who couldn’t attend.

Longstreth said the group formed in the late 80s/early 90s, when the men were local high school boys.

“They’re great, and I’m sure their voices are only better now that they’re older,” Longstreth said.

The Waynesburg University homecoming king and queen, who haven’t participated in recent years, will be in this year’s parade. Longstreth also noted bands from each of the county’s school districts will participate, as well.

“It’s going to be a good-sized parade,” she said.

Generally, Longstreth said, she has help from 40 volunteers to get the parade down High Street. Volunteers do everything, from lineup and directing the floats to stopping and disbanding participants after the parade.

“Not only does it take a lot of manpower, but it takes a lot of time (planning)” she said.

The 2019 Downtown Waynesburg Christmas Parade will wrap up around 3:30 and then the chamber’s first Christmas in the Burgh takes place that evening, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“We’re gonna see how this event goes and go from there,” said Michelle King, membership services coordinator for the chamber.

The event, at First National Bank, includes wine tasting, food samplings, a holiday-themed basket raffle and holiday music. Attendees can also view entries to a gingerbread house contest.

At In-Motion Dance Studio, guests can purchase pictures with Santa, watch dancers and attend a craft show.

Admission to Christmas in the Burgh costs $20 per person or $35 per couple and, though it’s preferred to buy tickets ahead of time, tickets will also be available at the door.

To purchase tickets or for more information, contact the Chamber office at 724-627-5926 or info@greenechamber.org.

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