PARKERSBURG - While the Christmas holiday is now past, area residents can still feel the holiday spirit for a few more days as holiday light displays in Parkersburg and Belpre continue through the end of the year.
Parkersburg's Holiday in the Park program at City Park and Southwood Park began Nov. 17, while the Belpre Holiday Lights Festival opened Nov. 24 with its annual parade.
The exhibits will be on display nightly through the end of Dec. 31 to celebrate the Christmas season.
Photo by Wayne Towner
Christmas scenes and related themes are popular exhibits at City Park during Parkersburg’s Holiday In the Park lighting display.
Holiday in the Park is a collection of Christmas lighting exhibits at City Park and Southwood Park. The displays are sponsored by local groups, individuals and businesses featuring holiday characters and others. Approximately 100,000 people visit the park during the Holiday in the Park program, according to organizers.
The annual Belpre Holiday Lights Festival began unofficially on the night before Thanksgiving, as the holiday lights were turned on for the first time of the season. Belpre is filled with dozens of light displays on exhibit throughout the city, its parks and neighborhoods through the end of the holiday season.
On Saturday evening, Vienna resident Cyndi Allen was visiting Civitan Park in Belpre with her nephews, Jagr Gregg, 10, and Pierson Gregg, 7, also of Vienna, on their second visit this season to see the lights.
"We came over a couple of weeks ago (to see the lights in Belpre) and they called me this morning because they loved these lights over here. They begged me to come back over, so we decided to come back," Allen said.
"I think they're awesome," Jagr said of the lights.
"They're really cool," Pierson agreed.
The boys and their aunt had also visited the light display at City Park in Parkersburg, but all three said the Belpre lights were their favorites. They liked the Parkersburg lights, "but not as much as these, though," Jagr said of the Belpre displays.
Allen said visiting the lights has become a holiday tradition for the family, with this being the fourth year for the visits.
"We come every year," she said.
Allen said she has also visited the lights of Oglebay Park in Wheeling and considers the Belpre display a close second to that exhibit.
"I've been to Wheeling several times and some of these are just as good as the Wheeling park lights, just on a smaller scale. They're every bit as creative," she said.
While the Gregg brothers liked Belpre's lights more, the City Park lights in Parkersburg also had their fans.
Parkersburg resident Jason Dickel said his family was making its third visit to see the City Park lights up close on Sunday, with plans to take a second horse-drawn carriage ride through the lights - a feature unique to Holiday in the Park for the past few years.
That doesn't count the number of times they've just driven through City Park to view the lights, Dickel said, estimating about a half-dozen such trips have been made so far by the family.
"We like the choo-choo trains, she is a huge choo-choo fan," Dickel said as he held his 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter Liliah. "She loves the choo-choo trains... She also loves to ride the horsies," he said, referring to the rides offered by Hardly Able Carriage Co. since the display opened in November, first with covered wagons and then with carriages as the holiday approached.
Dickel said visiting the lights is an activity the whole family can do together and enjoy.
"I've got my whole family here, my two sisters, my mom and we've got five little kids," he said.
The family has also been to see Belpre's lights but said the City Park lights were their favorite, Dickel said.