Ferry primed for festivities

MARTINS FERRY – The annual Martins Ferry Christmas Parade, put on by the Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department, is scheduled for Friday night at 6:30.

Fire Chief Jack Regis is expecting another impressive showing for the parade, now in its 34th year under the department’s direction.

Adding to the cause was Wheeling Hospital, which donated $2,000 to help put on the production, a sum that covers most, if not all, of the department’s costs related to candy, trophies, refreshments and plaques that will be handed out.

According to Regis, his department and Wheeling Hospital first hooked up earlier this year during the Betty Zane Days festival.

“We were looking for a sponsor for the parade and water battle for Betty Zane Days,” Regis explained. “We’ve had a lot going on this year with Betty Zane Days, the 125th anniversary and other events and we didn’t want to keep returning to the same advertisers.”

Regis stated that a wife of one of the department members works at Wheeling Hospital and broached the subject of asking the hospital to get involved.

Gregg Warren, the Vice-President of Marketing and Public Relations for the hospital, came over and was more than happy to lend a hand on the hospital’s behalf. At the time, he also told Regis that if any further assistance was required to not hesitate to call on the hospital again.

Regis did so for help with the parade and again, the hospital was able to oblige, donating the $2,000.

“It usually costs between $1,800-1,900 for the candy, refreshments before and after (the parade) and the trophies and plaques,” Regis said. “The extra money will help with some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that the public won’t see but will help us coordinate and run the parade more efficiently.”

Regis noted that a number of local businesses contributed to the cause and were able to step up to the plate, like they do every year.

The parade gets under way at 6:30 p.m., with lineup slated for 4:30. It will start at Center St.., work its way down S. Zane Highway, turn on Hickory, head north on 4th St. and eventually turning west and finishing up on Hanover St.

After the parade, hot chocolate, hot dogs and chips will be served at the Liberty Fire Station on the corner of 5th and Center Sts.

Regis noted a good number of participants are already committed and ready to march in the parade. The one downside this year, according to the chief, came about because of the sale of the RG Steel facilities to various entities.

In the past, the department obtained the usage of the Yorkville plant’s old 1946 fire brigade truck. The former fire chief’s from the MFVFD would ride that truck throughout town.

Efforts are still being made to utilize the truck but Regis noted if it doesn’t come to fruition, Staffalino Chevrolet in town has offered the use of a few vehicles to carry the former fire chiefs.

“So far, the weather report looks pretty good,” Regis said, looking ahead. “We’re hoping to get a lot of people out to enjoy the early holiday season.

“Santa will be there and I’m sure he’s excited as well.”

Hughes may be reached at mhughes@timesleaderonline.com