By WARREN DILLAWAY - firstname.lastname@example.org
Parade lovers from at least two states gathered along the streets of Conneaut to greet Santa, grab some candy and take pictures of loved ones participating in the parade.
“We used to come to the parade 17 years ago (when we lived here). I used to bring my own kids and now I brought my grandkids up from Chillicothe,” said Dave Young who now also lives in Chillicothe.
Red McGuire, and his wife Winnie, live in Girard, Pa., but have been coming to the Conneaut Christmas parade for 10 or 11 years. “Just for the fun of Christmas,” Red said while wearing blinking Christmas lights around his neck.
More than 30 units participated in the parade said Neil LaRouche, who is on the parade committee with Debbie Newcomb and Jim Jones.
Parade participants ranged from numerous fire engines from area communities, to a sled carrying Santa. A horse-drawn carriage and a garbage truck also completed the parade route from Conneaut High School to downtown Conneaut in a mix of rain, snow and sleet.
Children darted off the sidewalks to grab candy thrown from many of the floats and cheered the energetic marching of the
Conneaut High School Band.
“They were all really nice. There was a lot of work put into the floats,” said Mark Mirando while preparing to judge the competition.
After the parade, dozens of people gathered around the community Christmas Tree for the Lights of Love program. The annual event commemorates those who have died and are remembered annually through a public listing.
“We are grateful for the memories of those who have been left behind,” said the Rev. Tim Kraus after the Conneaut High School Band played several Christmas carols and residents lit Christmas candles.