Merry-Etta Lighted Christmas Parade

More than 60 participants makes this year’s largest so far

Several kids sit on a float by the Marietta Dance Academy in Saturday evening’s parade.

Several kids sit on a float by the Marietta Dance Academy in Saturday evening’s parade.

The Annual Merry-Etta Lighted Christmas Parade Saturday evening in downtown Marietta attracted hundreds of spectators along the route. The parade exceeded expectations and certainly got people of all ages in the holiday spirit.

“This year is the largest parade we’ve had so far. It’s very exciting! We have over sixty entrants,” said Cristie Thomas, executive director of Marietta Main Street.

“This parade is an effort to light downtown and make the parade unique. It gives people an extra hook to get people creative with their floats,” explained Thomas. “This parade kicks off the holiday season and the last float is always Santa and Mrs. Claus. We welcome them to Marietta!”

The parade falls on Small Business Saturday which encourages holiday shoppers to patronize small and local businesses.

Over sixty businesses, organizations, non-profits, civic organizations and initiatives participated in the event with floats, vehicles and people that combined to light up the Marietta streets. The route went from Greene to Front, onto Putnam and finishing up on Second Street. A stage was set up in front of the Armory on Front Street and WMOA MC’d as the floats went by. At the conclusion, the city Christmas tree was lit on the Armory lawn.

Abigail Friend, 4, of Newport, shares a moment with Santa and Mrs. Claus on the Armory lawn.

Abigail Friend, 4, of Newport, shares a moment with Santa and Mrs. Claus on the Armory lawn.

Gary Wick of Marietta was enjoying a great day as he and his family and friends clad in scarlet and gray watched the Buckeyes beat Michigan earlier in the day and topped off the day by taking in the parade.

“We’re a Buckeye family,” proclaimed Wick. “And we absolutely love this parade and come to it every year!”

Gary’s granddaughter, Ariana Wick, 10, of Caldwell, said she thought the night-time parade was really cool and she especially liked seeing Santa at the end.

“We’re really excited about the lights and super excited about Santa,” stated Brad Thomas, who was setting up to watch the parade with his two sons, Levon Thomas, 3, and Avett Thomas, 2, all of Parkersburg.

“They’ve been talking about it all day, so we’re pumped,” said Thomas. “I think it’s awesome having the floats lit up and having the commentating on the trailer. It’s really cool!”

MHS Band members Alex Worstell, 14, and Chase Myers, 15, got an opportunity to trade in their usual cymbals and play bells in this Christmas parade, making the exact sound you’d hear when Santa is traveling. They both expressed that the night parade makes it more fun, seasonal and festive.

A large group representing the Mid-Ohio Valley Players Youth Theatre carried banners for their upcoming shows. Their next performance, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” will be performed December 8-10. One of the directors of the performance, J.R. Wells said they have a great group of kids at the theater and they were glad to have the opportunity to participate in the parade this year.

Youth actors Josh Goocey, 16, a student at Wood County Christian and Ryleigh Boice, 11, MMS were excited to be part of the group walking in the parade. Goocey will be the father in the play while Boice will play the part of “Doris.” Alex Bauerbach, 17, a senior at MHS, who will be the “reverend” in the play hopes that by them being in the parade will bring more attention to the production and bring in more people.

Visit MOVP.org for more details and times for this and other performances.

With a brass quartet playing a selection of holiday tunes setting the mood, and then finishing with “Oh, Christmas Tree,” the Christmas tree on the armory lawn was officially lit by Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews.

“It’s wonderful to have everybody here tonight. The parade was fantastic,” expressed Matthews. “Being lighted is wonderful this time of year. It’s wonderful to start the Christmas season!

Tyson and Katie Whistler of Marietta brought their children, Lilly, 4, Miles, 6, and Cameron, 8, to take in the parade.

“This is great. The turnout is incredible! To see this many people downtown is awesome,” said Tyson. “We came down earlier to go shopping and have dinner. This is the way to start the holiday season!”

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