The Magic of christmas
The Shepherdstown Christmas parade, although starting an hour early this year, saw hundreds lining the streets to watch the entries.
This move in schedule was decided upon by Shepherdstown Rotary Club, who organizes the event each year, because of the potential for a Shepherd University football playoff game. The Rams, however, traveled to play on Saturday. But rather than cause confusion by moving the parade back to its original 11 a.m start time, the decision was made to go at the earlier hour.
Line up an hour earlier didn’t deter the nearly 60 units who took part in this year’s festivities. Local radio announcer Hans Fogle provided the voice for this year’s parade as he shared information about each entry that made its way down German Street. Leading off the parade was the Jefferson High School JROTC under the command of Cadet Col. Cole Devine. Cadet Major Mariah Daffron commanded the color guard for the JROTC.
Shepherd’s Ram Band regaled the crowd with sounds of the holidays. Also playing holiday favorites in the parade were the Shepherdstown Middle School Cardinals and the Jefferson High School Marching Cougars.
Always a crowd favorite, Trinity Episcopal Church’s Living Nativity marched early in the parade. After marching, the group returned to the churchyard where many visitors gathered to observe.
The New Market-Middletown Valley Hounds were a returning favorite as were the ever popular Dogs of Shepherdstown. No one can resist the four-legged friends who don their holiday wear for the parade.
Shepherdstown groups including the Shepherdstown Daycare, the Public Library, the Rotary Club, the Shepherdstown Community Club and more added to the ranks of those making their way down German Street.
Civil War soldiers from reenactment groups including the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of Civil War marched representing both the Confederates and the Union soldiers.
The Black Box Arts Center added in their actors who currently are showing A Christmas Carol through Dec. 11. The group also had an entry representing the “Bellsnicklers,” whom Fogle explained were a kind of alternative to Santa Claus.
“A Bellsnickle was ugly and scarey. He dressed funny, in a raggedy costume. He carried switches fow whipping naughty children,” Fogle said. “He traveled from house to house and gave out cakes or candies. But he distributed these gifts by throwing them on the floor. And if you tried to retrieve them, in his presence, he’d whip you with a switch,” Fogle concluded.
Multiple antique automobiles were seen traversing German Street, some carrying special guests and some there for the sake of showing their detail and design. Included as one entry was Vietnam Veteran Rick Goldman in his restored 1941 World War II Jeep. Another entry was a 1962 Studebaker Lark, owned by Larry Merhaut, of Martinsburg. The car was one of a group of seven old Studebakers that drove from New Market, Virginia to Santa Monica, California along the old U.S. Route 66 in 2003.
Pageant queens were in abundance including Miss Jefferson County Fair Kate Bochetti, Junior Miss Jefferson County Fair Delanie Graham and Little Miss Jefferson County Fair Hannah Storey. Miss Jeffeson County Danielle Stephenson also joined in as did Sabrina Harrison, Miss Jefferson County’s Outstanding Teen.
Add in Scouts, 4-Hers, the Morris Dancers, DAR members and Shepherdstown Middle’s MAC championship football team and there was something for everyone.
Rounding out the parade was Shepherdsown’s own Speakeasy Boys, a traditional entry in Shepherdstown parades.
They were followed up by Shepherdstown’s own volunteer fire department and then the long-awaited Santa Claus, who once again arrived in a carriage supplied by Bonnymeed Farm.