MOUNT GILEAD — The Chamber of Commerce Winterfest and Christmas parade stopped traffic for more than half an hour while 55 floats and walking groups came through town last Friday evening.
Sidewalks on both sides of Main Street were packed with families watching the parade. Stores and restaurants opened their doors for shoppers as festivities began at 5 p.m. and continued after the parade.
A special new attraction this year was the wagon ride pulled by a stunning, black pair of Percheron horses. This was the first year for the horse-drawn wagon ride that fit right into the Winterfest theme, “Christmas Through The Years — A Celebration of Our Past.” Both the Morrow County History Center and Cook House were open with special displays.
Carolers from Morrow Little Theatre sang after the tree lighting on the square and the whole town blazed with the lights of the parade and in celebration of Winterfest. The sun went down to a chilly, but still 35 degrees.
Trinity United Methodist Church served a soup and sandwich supper and welcomed families and children who made Christmas crafts. Trinity member and supper chairman Deb Knechtly said many came back after the parade to warm up and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate.
The Mount Gilead Public Library was popular with families who enjoyed cookie decorating and games with hot cider and doughnuts, while carolers sang just down the street by Santa’s house. Santa had a line all evening, not only for him, but to see the live reindeer behind his house.
The parade drew oohs and ahs as the spectacular light displays rolled by on floats. Judges had a hard time choosing winners in six float categories including:
• Spectacular lights: Friends of Cardington.
• Christmas is for kids: Cub Scouts Pac 56.
• Walking in light: Highland High School Marching Band.
• Best Use of Costume or Props: Del-Co Water.
• Most Creative Production Award carrying out the theme: Junior Fair Board train.
• Best religious theme to display the reason for the season: Tidy Tim’s.
Chamber of Commerce President LeAnne Gompf was delighted with the huge turnout for this fifth year of the parade and Winterfest. She thanked sponsors for the event that include: Cardington Yutaka Technologies, Consolidated Cooperative, Gompf Funeral Service and the Morrow County Hospital.
“I was extremely pleased with the increased entry participants and the many spectators that lined the streets,” Gompf said. “I felt all the entries were amazing. It is exciting to see the event grow with an outpouring of community support.”