The air was filled with familiar voices greeting family and friends and enjoying the festivities in West Liberty on Friday, Nov. 25. Excited chatter came from children hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus in the parade and sitting on his lap afterward to whisper gifts they hoped for under their tree. Others anticipated the traditional lighting of the Village Christmas Tree.
Store owners were busy greeting shoppers looking for sales at the Christmas Open Houses. Folks like Linda Mikel from Springfield and Ben Garmin of West Liberty were enjoying window shopping at MCC Thrift Shore. The smell of buttery popcorn at The Grove and The Trumpet Vine, food from the food truck or the Fire House where the chili soup or beans and cornbread fundraiser was, held several choices for the taste buds.
Quest Community Church members passed out delicious, and warming, hot chocolate to those lining the street to watch the Christmas Parade. The 2016 parade theme was, “200 years of West Liberty History,” as West Liberty is preparing for their Bicentennial Celebration in July of 2017. Float winners were, 1st place Lions Club, 2nd place Curly’s Meats and 3rd place Marie’s Candies.
The 17th annual Luminaria 5K Run was held in honor of John Paul Johnson, with runners making their way down Detroit Street and winding through the scenic streets of West Liberty. Trophies were passed out after the race was completed.
The question, “What does Christmas mean to you?” was posed to young Marisa Smith of West Liberty. A bit shy, she answered, “Everything. Jesus birthday, presents and family.” Alicia Diviak of Texas and Timothy Blake of Florida said, “Celebrating the birth of Christ.” Both were originally from the area and visiting family.
Tami Wenger is a regular contributor to this newspaper.