McKeesport salutes Santa in 49th annual parade
It looked a lot like Christmas in McKeesport Saturday as the 49th annual Salute to Santa parade brought hundreds of city residents and visitors to Fifth Avenue.
“It was a great turnout,” parks and recreation director Jim Brown said. “It was a wonderful (way) to kick off the holiday season. This may one of the largest parades that I've ever seen.”
More than 60 groups and organizations participated in the march from Market Street intersection to the Shop ‘n Save market, including a few newcomers.
“It's bigger than last year, and every year I strive to make it even bigger and better,” Mayor Michael Cherepko's administrative assistant Annette James said.
Cherepko, city councilors and administrators were among the first groups, handing out candy.
“We were blessed with absolutely beautiful weather,” Cherepko. said “It's just such a wonderful opportunity to kick off the holiday season with so many people and everyone truly enjoying themselves. You always say a little prayer when you have events like this, and there's no question our prayers were answered,”
It was the first Salute to Santa parade for Brent Schmidt of Pleasant Hills and his daughter Abigail Schmidt, 2.
“I like a parade with fire trucks,” Abigail said.
Raena Bacon of McKeesport brought her son Landon Bacon, 5, to watch the festivities.
Landon said he liked the karate demonstration by White Oak-based CS Kim Karate.
Raena Bacon said her mother-in-law Betsy Bacon brought the family to their first McKeesport parade.
“I always brought my son,” Betsy Bacon said. “My kids were in strollers and then they were in the band. It seems bigger and they're more interactive with the groups. It's more fun for (Landon) to watch.”
Santa closed out the parade atop a city fire department ladder truck.
The Palisades hosted an after-party with food, balloons, and a chance to sit with Santa.
Cherepko recognized Macaila Ziolkowski, 13, of Pittsburgh, who won the Greater Pittsburgh Soapbox Derby Stock Division title in McKeesport in June and went on to win the All-American Soapbox Derby Stock Division championship in July.
McKeesport Area High School sophomores Nayelle Williams and Jessica Washowich were crowned parade princess and queen, respectively.
“I feel honored and I think it's a wonderful opportunity to be able to represent McKeesport in such a way,” Nayelle, 15, said.
She credited her selection to her “work in the community and trying to make McKeesport a better place, and the activities I'm involved in to do that.”
She is involved in the Youth CAST leadership program, the school's diversity club, a capella choir and Penn State Greater Allegheny initiatives.
Jessica, 16, said she was surprised by her selection as queen.
“It's so amazing,” she said. “I didn't expect it, and it makes me proud to represent my city and be a part of this city even more. I work a lot in the community and I can get other people involved. I'm really proud to be where I'm from, and I think that's very important.”
She is involved in the school's environmental, foreign language and diversity clubs, and helps McKeesport Lions Club.
McKeesport Area's band and cheerleaders were named the parade's best in their respective areas.
Versailles Volunteer Fire Co. had the best fire truck. Jim Heatherington of the Three Rivers Model A Restorers Club had the best antique car, and White Oak Rotary the best float.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- LifeSpan opens fitness center in McKeesport
- Local Catholic Schools Week celebrations include fun activities, community service
- South Allegheny board OKs deal to sell former Glassport school
- West Mifflin Area sues Martell over continuing education credit costs
- Use of police body cameras increases; Whitaker explores purchase
- Rape charges against Versailles bar owner dropped in plea deal
- Homestead business owner recalls similar fire 26 years ago
- Munhall repeals its lost or stolen gun ordinance
- West Mifflin Area board approves contracts with teachers union, business manager
- Former Munhall borough manager’s embezzlement trial delayed; settlement possible