Holiday events set to light up Mt. Pleasant
Mt. Pleasant's holiday season is set to officially kick off Saturday and borough leaders, once again, have ensured the streets will be visitor-friendly.
Beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, the borough's annual Holiday Parade will be held on Main Street. Lineup will begin at 10 a.m. at Eagle and Main streets.
This year's theme is “Angels of Christmas,” said borough Manager Jeff Landy.
“I wanted to come up with another slant on Christmas, and I thought angels would be a good theme along those lines,” Landy said.
Landy added that he is anticipating the collection of floats scheduled to take part in the event.
“We usually end up with around eight to 10 floats,” Landy said. “Prizes will be awarded for the floats; that's what makes this parade different than a lot of other parades.”
The parade's panel of judges, which will include Steve Simon, executive director of the Regional Family YMCA of Laurel Highlands in East Huntingdon, will choose first-, second- and third-place winners based on the degree of difficulty, creativity, reflection of event theme, holiday spirit and overall appearance, Landy said.
“It's a lot easier to create a float and have a nice float if the weather cooperates, so we will see how it goes,” he said. “You don't have to follow the theme but, if you want to win the prizes, that's one of the judging criteria.”
Mt. Pleasant Emergency Medical Unit — or Medic 10 — donates the prize money for the winning floats with $500 going to the first-place winner, $300 (second place) and $200 (third place).
Following the parade, free hot chocolate and cookies will be offered at the Veterans Park gazebo on Diamond Street by the Mt. Pleasant Knights of Columbus Council 3334.
“This is probably the fourth year for us doing this; the Knights try to support the community in whatever ways we can,” said David Pritts, a borough councilman and treasurer of the local Knights of Columbus council.
From noon to 2 p.m., the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society will hold “Christmas at the Cabin,” during which society members will offer visiting children the opportunity to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over an open fire, at no charge, in front of the decorated Chestnut Log House on Washington Street.
A gift basket raffle will also be held in the Overly Log House next door, said Richard Snyder, the society's executive director.
“It's our fourth year now, and we had a good turn out last year,” said Snyder, adding that society volunteers provided 80 to 90 hot dogs to area youngsters and two large bags worth of marshmallows. “If the weather is good, we'll have a good turnout.”
At 6 p.m., another newer borough tradition will take place with the Candlelight Procession.
Also established in 2009, the procession will begin at the Mt. Pleasant Borough Volunteer Fire Department's Central Fire Station on South Church Street, where participants will make their way to the gazebo for holiday music and readings under the glow of candlelight, Landy said.
Feature readers this year will be borough Mayor Jerry Lucia; borough council President Joe Bauer; the Rev. William Terry, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mt. Pleasant; the Rev. Rick Kosisko, pastor of St. Pius X Visitation Church; and the Rev. Stuart Adams, pastor of Wellspring Church of Scottdale.
“I've been involved since Jeff (Landy) initiated it and, every year, it gets a little bit larger,” Adams said. “I couldn't be prouder of a community like Mt. Pleasant having this event. I think it's a return to our grassroots ... a wonderful and unique way that many people may have forgotten about to center on what really is important at this time of year.”
Through Jan. 2, free meter parking will be available to holiday shoppers who drive to town to shop in borough stores, including spaces in the large lots at behind Levin Furniture and at the corner of Diamond and Washington streets.
“Being the mayor and, before that, a borough councilman for 30 years, that's always been a standing order for the holidays,” Lucia said. “We have a lot of out-of-town visitors that go to Levin's, and there's quite a few new businesses in town, too, and the lower end of town you have the restaurants.
“We want people to be able to feel comfortable to park their cars and not worry about getting a ticket.”
Nino Barsotti, executive director of the Mt. Pleasant Business District Authority, the response locally to the free parking has always been positive.
“It's as much a convenience for the shop owners and property owners in Mt. Pleasant as it is for the patrons,” Barsotti said.
Editor's note — Anyone wishing to participate in the parade is asked to call the borough office at 724-547-6745.
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or email@example.com.