Holidays begin in Beverly

BEVERLY – Christmas is still a time for people and communities to come together to enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season.

The annual Beverly-Waterford Christmas Parade and Dodge Park Lighting Ceremony were held Sunday evening in the two northern Washington County communities.

People from throughout the communities lined up along Main Street in Waterford to Ohio 339 and into Beverly along Main Street to Park Street and ending at Dodge Park.

Many of the participants were decked out in lights or rode on parade floats that were lit up. Marching bands played holiday favorites and many participants were able to pass out candy to the delight of children along the parade route.

An exact count of parade participants was not available Sunday evening, but organizers said there was a good turnout.

“There were quite a few people in the parade itself,” said Elizabeth Stephens of the Beverly-Waterford Chamber of Commerce. “It went well.

“It was wonderful.”

Events like Sunday’s really help bring many people out from around the area, she said.

“It really is great for the community to come together,” Stephens said.

Heather Lang, of Waterford, was sitting along the parade route in Beverly. Her son was marching in the parade as part of the Boy Scouts.

“This is very important,” she said of the parade. “I am usually riding my horses in them, but I am coming off of an injury.

“We usually have the battery-operated lights and the Santa hats. We had things all over our horses.”

Lang is planning to be in the 2016 parade.

“I will be in it next year, oh yeah,” she said.

Although Beverly and Waterford are small towns, people come out and support community events like the parade, she said.

“When you have something like this, people come out and support it,” Lang said. “They come out to see all of the goodies and the kids like getting the candy.

“This is a small town and there is not a lot here, but when they have something like this it is a pretty big-to-do. Everyone comes out and socializes and talks and watches it.”

Dan and Marilyn Kehl, of Beverly, were standing along the parade route in Beverly. They came to watch their granddaughter who was in the parade as part of the Girl Scouts. The couple attends the parade pretty regularly.

“It is a hometown thing where everyone gets involved,” Marilyn said.

The couple said the parade is usually pretty popular with local residents. It is a chance to see people they haven’t seen in awhile and to socialize.

“We have already spoken to a few that have walked by,” Dan said.

The lighting at the park, with people gathering for cookies and hot chocolate, means a lot to many people.

“It is all a pretty big deal,” he said.

However, that is just how the area is, Marilyn said.

“We are always this way,” she said. “Beverly is always a friendly place.

“The town used to have a sign that said we were ‘a little town with a big welcome.’ I think that still holds true.”

At the Dodge Park lighting, Beverly Mayor Rex O. Kenyon thanked everyone for their support and “making this a great place to live.”

He talked about the meaning of the season and reminded people to keep that within themselves as they celebrated the season with family and friends.

“Remember those who are not with us this year, for whatever reason, especially the soldiers who are protecting our freedoms,” he said. “If it was not for them, we would not have the opportunity to freely join together in the park and celebrate Christmas the way we do.”

The parade and the park lighting is a chance for the community to come together, Kenyon said.

“We have several celebrations and parades in the town throughout the year,” he said. “It is an opportunity to come together and share with friends and family.

“We are fortunate to have all of these good people working to make all of these good things happening.”

Parades are a reason to bring people together, the mayor said.

“With the busy lives that everyone has now, it is hard to find the reason or the time to get together,” he said. “If you make it a special annual event, everyone can plan to come and everyone is able to come together.”