POINT PLEASANT — Visitors bundled up and lined Main Street Friday night for the annual Point Pleasant Christmas Parade and sixth annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Following one of the largest parades of the year, those braving the cool, damp conditions gathered at Gunn Park for the lighting ceremony, emceed by Mayor Brian Billings.
Following the mayor’s welcome, the PPJHS Band, under the direction of Emily Hall, performed a holiday number.
Then, Mayor Billings announced the winners of the People’s Choice Awards, given by the City of Point Pleasant. Three Main Street merchants received an engraved crystal book award for their winning window displays, based on the theme “A Storybook Christmas.” Each of the 23 participating chose a children’s story for the business’ window display and the public voted on the winners during the Main Street Sugarplum Stroll. Coming in third place was Siders Jewelers with “The Polar Express”; second place was Bordman Furniture with “Twas the Night Before Christmas”; first place went to The Lowe Hotel with “The Nutcracker.”
The lighting ceremony continued with a Christmas song by the PPJ/SHS Chamber Choir under the direction of Ethan Bartlett. A Christmas message was delivered by Pastor John Holland of the Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church. Beth Rollins performed “How Many Kings” and led the community in “Silent Night.”
Mayor Billings then turned to the tree, thanking the city workers and Street Commissioner Randy Hall for their help in getting it set, following its donation from the Rawson Family.
The crowd then counted down to the tree’s lighting, with the PPHS Band, under the direction of Ben Loudin, performing a Christmas song upon the switch being flipped.
The city’s official tree sits at Gunn Park, as do several theme-decorated trees from the Light of Christmas tree project. Schools, businesses, churches, sports teams, organizations, clubs, and individuals were invited to decorate a tree to support the Mason County Toys for Kids Association. The tree project, which serves as a fundraiser for local children in need at Christmas, is organized by Brandy Barkey Sweeney of Toys for Kids. Mayor Billings recognized Sweeney for her efforts at the lighting ceremony.
The ceremony’s official program also recognized the Rawson Family for donating the tree; Rob Jarrell for providing the sound for the event; Street Commissioner Randy Hall; city employees for setting up and decorating the tree and town; Mayor Billings, City Clerk Amber Tatterson and council members Janet Hartley, Charles Towner, Pat Sallaz, Jerrie Howard, Gabe Roush, Leigh Ann Shepard, Elaine Hunt, Judy Holland, Brad Deal and Rick Simpkins. In addition, the Bellemead UM Church was recognized for providing free hot chocolate at the event.
The lighting ceremony was resurrected a few years ago with Marla Cottrill bringing the idea to city council. Mayor Billings presented Cottrill with a letter of appreciation at the ceremony.
The trees are lit from now until the end of the year for those wishing to take in the holiday sights in downtown Point Pleasant. To view the Christmas parade and tree lighting, visit the Point Pleasant Register’s Facebook page.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.