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Jingle all the way: Shepherdstown celebrates Christmas with annual parade

By Staff | Dec 7, 2018

Santa Claus waves from his sleigh during the Shepherdstown Christmas Parade on Saturday morning. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Despite the uncertain weather, Shepherdstown Christmas Parade participants started lining up for the annual parade on Saturday morning, with floats gilded in Christmas decorations.

While some of the participants in the morning festivities were dressed up as the Grinch, Cindy Lou Who or Santa Claus, others wore thick coats and gloves, as they helped behind-the-scenes in making sure the event was a success. More than one of these volunteers were members of Shepherd University’s Rotaract Club.

“The reason we like to help out — as a club, we have a motto, ‘Always put one’s community before one’s self,'” said sophomore sociology major Christopher Hicks, as he and freshman global studies major Elana Gutmann helped parade participants find their order in the parade line-up.

“I already enjoy helping people, and during this time of the year, there’s something special about helping people,” Gutmann said. “It’s the spirit of the holiday.”

While many of the parade participants were celebrating the holiday with their floats, others were walking and riding for a cause. Shepherd University alumna Megan Hibner, of Martinsburg, has participated in the parade for five years, to bring awareness to Team River Runner, an organization benefiting wounded veterans by connecting them and teaching them how to kayak over a series of months.

The Contemporary American Theater Festival walks along German Street during the Shepherdstown Christmas Parade on Saturday morning. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

“It’s just good to meet people and bring smiles to peoples’ faces and promote the program. It’s always interesting to learn about the different opportunities to help in the Eastern Panhandle,” Hibern said. “Plus, it’s a fun way to kick off the Christmas season.”

Parade attendees crowded the sidewalks along German Street, enjoying the Christmas cheer and music performed by the Ram Band. For some, this was the first Christmas parade they had seen in Shepherdstown.

“This is our first year that we’ve been here for the parade, and this is one of the advantages of living on German Street,” said Sue Starkweather, as she watched the parade from her front porch with a mug of coffee in her hands. “It very much feels like a community. I see a lot of people that I recognize, even though I’ve lived here for a short time. We were told before we bought the house, ‘You better like parades,’ and I guess I do.”

The annual parade, which was sponsored by the Shepherdstown Rotary Club, only saw a few of the 65 groups signed up for the parade back out because of their concern for the well-being of their participants, including the Jefferson High School Band, Shepherdstown Middle School Band and Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County.

The Grinch waves to children during the Shepherdstown Christmas Parade on Saturday morning. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

The Jefferson County Girl Scouts march along the Shepherdstown Christmas Parade route on Saturday morning. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.