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Holiday festivities begin in Connellsville

| Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, 9:53 p.m.

The holiday season starts in a big way on Saturday, as hundreds of children are expected to attend Christmas In The Park at Yough Park and hundreds will line the streets of Connellsville later in the day for the annual Christmas parade and light-up festivities.

Christmas in the Park is sponsored by the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce and will be held 1 to 4 p.m. The Christmas parade and light-up is sponsored by New Haven Hose Company and will kick off at 7 p.m.

At Christmas in the Park, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to hear the requests of all children attending. Children can have their photo taken with Santa and receive a treat bag, hot chocolate and cookie.

There will be horse and buggy rides. Seth the Balloon Dude will be on hand making unique balloon creations.

There will be face painting, arts and crafts, and karaoke.

Coordinated 360 will be providing holiday music that will fill the park and add to the festive atmosphere.

A basket raffle will be held and refreshments will be sold.

“Coordinated 360 applauds the many volunteers who make Christmas in the Park a fun community celebration for local residents of all ages. We are just one of many local businesses who see the value of giving back to the community and helping to ensure that this tradition continues,” said Matthew Dowling, Coordinated 360 owner.

“Donating our services is a way for our team to say thanks to the community for trusting us with their business and allowing us to make a living here at home in Fayette County,” said Dave Slusarick, Coordinated 360 creative director.

“The list of the donors that we have is growing,” said Ronn Hall, office manager at the chamber.

In addition to Coordinated 360, donors include Herr Inc., Connellsville Walmart, Pechin Shopping Village, First Niagara Laurel Mall, JD Ritenour, John Faris Distributing, Dunbar Distributing, TA Nelson Bus Lines, M&D Excavating, Brooks' Camper Sales, Stone & Co., CRH Catering, The Daily Courier, Herald-Standard, Pinky Toes Day Care, Head Start of Fayette County, McDonalds (Connellsville), Sheetz (Connellsville), Wendy's (Connellsville), Kathryn's Jewelers, West Side Jewelry, state Rep. Deborah Kula, Jackson Hewitt, Kisiel and Associates, Coldwell Banker & Laurel Ridge Realty, Lynn Dairy Queens, Inc., Servpro, Tri-Town Historical Society, Bud Murphy's Rockstarz, Connellsville Towers, Fiesta Realty, Fayette EMS, Armstrong, Connellsville Business and Professional Women and Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Technology.

“The Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to offer this event for the children of the area,” said Michael Edwards, chamber community events committee chairman.

“We are expecting a record number of children at our annual Christmas in the Park event. Seeing all the happy faces and being part of making that happen is a great way to start the holiday season of giving for all the volunteers and sponsors,” said Bryan Kisiel, chamber treasurer.

During light-up festivities, street decorations and City Hall Plaza will be illuminated. Light-up will occur prior to the start of the parade at 7 p.m.

Parade line-up will take place on Sixth and Seventh streets on the West Side. Marchers and fire and emergency equipment will proceed over the Crawford Avenue Bridge, through town, and finish at East Side Fire Station where Santa will be waiting to give all kids a treat.

John Truxel is the chairman of the food drive that is cosponsored with New Haven Hose and the Connellsville Moose as part of each year's Christmas parade.

Spectators are asked to bring as many nonperishable food items as possible to be donated to area food pantries where the need is greatest around the holidays.

Uniformed firemen will be accompanied by local Boy Scouts to collect the items along the parade route.

The firemen also carry firemen's boots while conducting a boot drive for donations to go toward upkeep of the Christmas lights throughout town. The lights were hung in early November by Randy Hinebaugh, New Haven Christmas decoration chairman, and volunteers including some staff from Armstrong.

Parade watchers are also asked to bring toys for Toys For Tots that the firemen will collect and deliver to the Daily Courier office to donate to the Marines in time for Christmas delivery.

“We're looking forward to good participation in the parade and an evening for everyone to enjoy. The finale of this big day of activity in Connellsville will be fireworks after the parade,” said Mayor Charles Matthews, who is a New Haven Hose Company trustee.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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