Winchester Christmas Parade ushers in holiday season

Published 11:01 am Monday, December 4, 2023

In baseball, a steady downpour sometimes cancels a game.

Thankfully, the same would not be said in Winchester on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 2nd.

The annual Winchester Christmas Parade took place, as nearly 100 different groups participated, with hundreds of spectators lining the street to celebrate.

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“We had 98 participants register, but I’d say there were about 300 moving parts total in this parade tonight”, said Lauren Mink, who helped lead the committee that put together the parade. “I just love how excited people get every year!”

Although the parade officially began at 6:00 p.m., the cobblestone road along Depot Street was already filled by 5:30 p.m.

Many organizations were represented by floats being driven on trucks and other vehicles.

Among local businesses and organizations present were Freedom Realty & Property Management, Countrytime Motors, 5 Star Roofing, JayK’s at Forest Grove, Underground Kings LLC, Next Level Lawn & Landscaping, 2 Rivers Beer Cheese, the Winchester Public Works Department, Rose Mary C. Brooks Place, Winchester Municipal Utilities, STRIDE, Clark Energy, the Clark County Public Library, New Day Recovery Center and many more.

Some were quite decorative, with Rimar Electric featuring a Christmas tree in the truck bed and other vehicles incorporating lights.

Several churches and faith-based organizations were present, such as Landmark Baptist Church, 90:10 Ministries, and Calvary Chapel on Sycamore Street.

Along with schools such as Conkwright Elementary School and Baker Intermediate School, Clark County Youth Cardinals (CCYC) members were seated on the back of a truck.

“The kids love it, and seeing the smile on their faces makes it better,” said Melissa Parker, who serves as chair coordinator.

“Our cheerleading team came in fourth in Nationals [competition], so we just want to get our name out,” said Bridget Wells, cheerleading coach for CCYC.

When the parade started, as holiday music played on Main Street throughout the evening and those in front of the Clark County Court House bore witness to the newly lit and decorated Christmas tree, George Rogers Clark High School’s JROTC program led the caravan of floats and more along Main Street.

The school’s dance team, baseball team, softball team, and more also participated.

Yet they were far from alone.

The Grand Marshal of this year’s Christmas parade was long-time Winchester resident Martha Gamble.

“It’s very much a privilege. I’m very pleased and very surprised that I am having this honor,” Gamble said. “I love small towns. I love parades. I love [the] recognition of all the people that are here.”

Pageant winners of the Clark County Fair appeared.

Riding in one float were 2023 Little Miss Clark County Riley Henry, and 2023 Pre-Teen Clark County Emerie Smith.

“It’s raining, but the girls are having fun [and] that’s all that matters,” said Cortney Henry, Riley’s mom.

Logan and Katrina Hall, long-time Winchester residents, also brought their two kids.

“[We want] to support Winchester,” said Katrina Hall.

“[It] just gets bigger and better every year,” said Logan Hall. “You never know what you’re going to see. We love it!”

Former Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner was one of many local luminaries who attended.

“It’s a great community event,” Burtner said. “It’s a much more relaxed event, and I think people like that very much.”

Certainly not least, while the parade featured costumed characters – including The Grinch – every parade would only be complete with the presence of Santa Claus.

Riding on the back of a Winchester Fire Department vehicle – one of many first responders to be recognized – the parade concluded with Santa and Mrs. Claus excitedly acknowledging the crowd.

When all was said and done, it was an experience well worthwhile.

“[The parade] was awesome,” Mink said. “Despite the rain, everybody came out and gave 110 percent!”