Beverly, Waterford parade

BEVERLY-The Village of Beverly put on its holiday best with the annual Beverly-Waterford Christmas parade and lighting of Dodge Park Sunday evening. Several hundred people stood along the parade route, then followed the procession to the lighting ceremonies in Dodge Park.

“This is a great ending for our Home for the Holidays shopping weekend, and the kickoff of the Christmas season,” said Rachel Schott, co-chair with Elizabeth Stephens, of the lighting committee for the Beverly-Waterford Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber and Beverly Lions Club team up each year to sponsor the parade and park lighting, now in its 19th year.

“We also had 33 students from the Washington County Career Center and instructor Jeff Canterbury who helped put up the lights,” Schott said.

The Beverly Lions provided hundreds of cookies and cups of hot chocolate for the event.

Four-year-old Tristan Matheny of Beverly knew what he wanted as he waited for the the parade to pass by Sunday night.

“Candy,” he said. “And Santa Claus is coming, but it’s just the parade Santa.”

Tristan and hundreds of other youngsters were not disappointed as Santa rode into town on a float, landing at Dodge Park where a line of children waited to share their Christmas wishes with the jolly old elf.

Josh and Heather Arnold’s children, Brooklyn, 3, and Brody, 1, were among those who received a candy cane after talking with Santa Sunday night.

“I’m originally from Waterford, and my wife is from Beverly, and our parents also grew up here,” Josh said. “We’re very blessed to have such a great community. And we try to make it to all of the local parades and other events.”

Beverly United Methodist Church Pastor Matt Weaver, his wife Aimee, and their 4-year-old son Jonathan were experiencing their first parade and park lighting since moving to the village from Texas last July.

“We have fallen in love with this town,” Aimee said.

Matt agreed.

“It’s our first holiday here, but the vibrancy and support of this community is excellent,” he said.

Young Jonathan performed with the Beverly UMC youth bell choir during Sunday’s park lighting celebration.

“He’s only practiced a couple of times with the group, but he loves it,” Aimee said.

Approximately 20 youngsters, from pre-school through eighth grade, performed Christmas music in the church bell choir Sunday.

Schott said the chamber hopes the Home for the Holidays shopping weekend, as well as the parade and park lighting event, will help bring more people to see what the village of Beverly has to offer.

She said the lights will remain on display at Dodge Park through the first week in January.