ELK GARDEN – The last Christmas parade in Elk Garden was 127 years ago in 1890, but last Sunday's Christmas parade is sure to be a new tradition as the community, businesses and families rallied for the mountain top celebration.
By Ronda Wertman
ELK GARDEN – The last Christmas parade in Elk Garden was 127 years ago in 1890, but last Sunday’s Christmas parade is sure to be a new tradition as the community, businesses and families rallied for the mountain top celebration.
A clear but cool night, with not a snowflake in sight, was the perfect setting as the parade lined up as the sun was setting.
When the town council in November said, “Let’s have a parade,” neither mayor Marian Droppleman or the council members envisioned the turn out the event would draw.
Professional basketball player and motivator J.C. Carlton was in Mineral County for the Chamber of Commerce Wellness Weekend and served as the grand marshal for the parade and lit the town Christmas tree.
The Chamber also had a float in the parade celebrating Mineral County’s own Jack Rollins, who penned “Frosty the Snowman” and “Here Comes Peter Cottontail.”
Local churches were on hand with floats and walking displays celebrating the birth of Jesus and announcing upcoming Christmas plays and programs.
The Girl Scouts had a float and the Union Lady Tigers basketball team. Many local businesses took part in the parade including loggers, concrete trucks, builders and stores.
The Mineral County Sheriff’s Department led the parade and fire and emergency medical services represented Elk Garden and Mount Storm.
As the parade ended at the town hall and residents gathered to light the town tree, which has been planted to be a permanent part of the celebration, Droppleman told the group of all ages, “You all surprised me. You all rallied together tonight.”
When the tree didn’t light on the first try as Droppleman and Carlton worked with the buttons in the dark, the second time was a charm.
Carlton said he was “a little nervous speaking in front of so many people, but that West Virginia feels like home.
He noted that this was his first parade ever and said, “I am starting to fall in love with West Virginia.”
Following the lighting, ornaments were placed on the tree in memory or honor or loved ones who may not be here to celebrate the season.
Area residents were busy before the event preparing sandwiches, baking cookies and picking up snacks and drinks to feed the crowd of young and old alike.
As everyone made their way through the town hall, Santa and Mrs. Claus were waiting to greet the children with oranges and candy canes as they heard what each youngster of the town wanted for Christmas.
They were seated by a tree featuring ornaments made by the children of Elk Garden.
An effort for an angel tree is also underway in Elk Garden with Droppleman having the names of those in need of a guardian angel this Christmas. Individuals or groups interested in helping to provide a Christmas for these children are urged to contact her.