Zelie moves up start of Christmas parade

November 6, 2019 Cranberry Local News

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Santa Claus's arrival is marked by the annual Zelienople Christmas parade on Saturday, November 28, 2015.

ZELIENOPLE — The annual Christmas parade in the borough's downtown will start a half-hour earlier than originally planned.

Borough council on Oct. 28 heard a request from the Zelienople Area Business Association to move the start of the parade to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5.

Earlier this month, council approved a request from the association to hold the parade at 6 p.m. It signaled a break from the tradition of holding the parade on Saturday morning.

Business association officials said there was a desire to hold the parade at the same time as the opening of Santa's house, as well as the annual Miracle on Main Street event.

However, borough officials raised concerns about clearing Main Street and other downtown areas in the early afternoon. They also shared concerns about parking, as well as the general impact on businesses.

Council ultimately agreed to allow parking on Main Street during the parade.

On Oct. 28, Dan Fritch of the association said he spoke with other members, as well as borough officials, and determined a 5:30 start would work better. He acknowledged the change has received much feedback in the community.

“We learned a lot on this one,” he said. “We won't be making this mistake again, I promise.”

He said the benefit of holding the parade on a weeknight will be more participants in the parade, including the Seneca Valley High School Marching Band.

Council unanimously approved the time change. Councilman Gregg Semel suggested the Thursday night date would be held this year as a trial run, with discussions afterward to determine whether it was successful or not.

Fritch added the parade “very well” could go back to being held on Saturdays in the future.

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J.W.  Johnson Jr.

J.W. Johnson Jr.

J.W. Johnson Jr. is the bureau chief of the Cranberry Eagle. Johnson is a native of Bellaire, Ohio, and graduated from Bellaire High School in 2004. He is a 2009 graduate of Ohio University in Athens with a bachelor of specialized studies degree in English and journalism. While there, he served as a reporter and editor at The Post, the university’s student-run, independent newspaper. In 2009, he was hired as a reporter for The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register in Wheeling, W.Va. Over the course of eight years, he also served as Marshall County bureau chief, city editor and news editor. He also won two first place West Virginia Press Association Awards for his reporting and design work. He and his wife, Maureen, live in Carnegie.