CHUGGING ALONG — Created by Lombardi Development of Follansbee, the Candyland Express was among units that adopted the train theme chosen for the Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas parade, which was held Friday on Charles Street. — Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — Aided by local business sponsors, the Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce helped to usher in the holiday season for many residents Friday with its Christmas parade on Charles Street.

Many residents and visitors lined the street from 26th Street to the city’s Town Square to see police cruisers and fire trucks, the Brooke High School Marching Band and Dance Team and many other participants.

Giving a boost to this year’s event were TEAM Ford, which also provided vehicles to tow the floats; and Main Street Bank, which arranged the visit by special guests Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Eric Fithyan, the event’s chairman, chose “Wellsburg Express” as this year’s theme, comparing the interlocked cars of a train bound for the same destination to the team effort that resulted in the development and recent completion of the new Ohio River bridge just south of the city.

And serving as grand marshal were three who were early, vocal supporters of the span: residents Walter Ferguson of Wellsburg and Helen Mayle of Brilliant and former state Senator Jack Yost.

Fithyan had invited residents of Brilliant, the city’s newest neighbor thanks to that interstate link, to join in the festivities.

And Brilliant area firefighters could be found among the many first responders who drove their vehicles along the parade route.

The procession included a wide variety of vehicles, from the train-themed floats entered by Lombardi Development and Steel Valley Baptist Church to a winter wonderland float occupied by lighted snowmen sponsored by the chamber and Eagle Manufacturing to a horse-drawn wagon belonging to Rocky Ridge Acres of Waynesburg, Pa. to the many miniature motorcycles piloted by members of the Osiris Shrine of Wheeling.

Following the parade, attendees could make their way to the Town Square, where children could meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and everyone could enjoy light refreshments while awaiting the lighting of the Christmas tree there.

Held each year on the day after Thanksgiving, the parade is one way many residents prepare for the holiday season.

Several parade-goers in Wellsburg were asked what puts them in the mood for Christmas.

Marc Carte of Wellsburg replied, “Christmas and good friends.”

Among friends attending the parade with Carte and his family was Tracy Delatore, a former Wellsburg resident now living in Tampa, Fla.

Delatore noted weather in the Sunshine State doesn’t provide the same seasonal cue experienced by residents of the Ohio Valley, so she looks to other triggers.

“Listening to Christmas music and decorating for the holidays. To get in the spirit, you just have to do extra decorating,” she said.

Toni Taylor of Wellsburg said, “I really think Thanksgiving (puts her in the mood) and spending time with my family.”

Taylor said each year her daughters and their families come to her home for breakfast and to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television, then stay for dinner.

“We’ve been doing that for a long time,” she said.

Leigh Scherich of Wellsburg said Christmas music also is key for her, with “Do You Hear What I Hear?” being a favorite, but spending time with family also is important.

“Spending time with my granddaughters, who are 4 and 5, and seeing them get excited,” she added.