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The St. C. Easter parade hopefully sign of things to come

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK St. Clairsville residents David Gordon, from left, Abby Conner, Isaiah Kebvert, Kaden Conner, and Greg DuVall work on Easter baskets in preparation for Saturday’s parade through the neighborhood. Mayor Kathryn Thalman, in the background at left, assists with Claire McMillen.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The city is looking to a festive Easter, which will hopefully herald a spring and summer of fairs, festivals and other post-COVID events.

A parade is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, March 27. As with prior holidays, the procession will visit residents since they cannot gather on Main Street.

“We’ll be going through the neighborhoods again, like we’ve done with Christmas and last Easter, to say ‘Hi’ to the kids and “Happy Easter,” Mayor Kathryn Thalman said.

“With the past year, with COVID, we couldn’t have a traditional Christmas parade. Last year we couldn’t get together for July 4 because of COVID, so we came up with the idea of trying to bring the celebration to our neighborhoods.”

As part of the preparations, volunteers gathered at Thalman’s office Tuesday to fill Easter baskets, which will be distributed to youth in need.

“We’ve got 30 baskets we’re making for the kids at Fox Run (Center for Children and Adolescents),” Thalman said, adding that Officer Greg Clark arranged for a visit earlier as part of the police department’s program of community outreach.

More baskets will also be given to senior residents at Continuing Healthcare at Forest Hill and the St. Clairsville Senior Suites, because they may not have had much opportunity to get out and socialize.

The Easter Bunny will also pay a festive visit to neighborhoods around St. Clairsville, beginning at the St. Clair Commons and accompanied by an entourage. Thalman said more than a dozen vehicles are expected to join in.

“At 4 p.m. we’re going to line up at Senior Suites, and we will be going through the streets of St. Clairsville,” she said. “We will be honking and we might even have a fire truck involved. We’ll see if we have the time (March 27) to do it. … We’ve had a lot of people that want to participate … whoever wants to be in it, the more the merrier.”

After the parade, an Easter celebration will be held at the J.B. Martin Recreation Center around 6 p.m.

“The rabbit will give candy out to the kids,” Thalman said.

Meanwhile the community has continued to show support.

“There’s a lot of donations this year. Unbelievable donations,” Clark said, adding people and businesses have donated candy, gift cards and pizza. “I think it’s going to be a great event.”

“Just trying to make it a little bit special with the COVID restrictions. This way we’re kind of doing a parade and taking it to people’s houses,” Thalman said. “They’ll have a chance to welcome spring and the Easter Bunny and kick the year off.”

In contrast with the lack of events last spring and summer, Gov. Mike DeWine is hoping for fairs, festivals and other much-loved events to make a return this year.

“Hopefully with all the COVID restrictions, when they’re lifted we’ll be able to be a little bit more traditional and have a parade through town,” she said. “Until we hear that, we’re going to try to bring it to the neighborhoods, and I can tell you, we will be having a July 4 parade, because I’ve had so many people ask me already and I said, ‘We’ve got to do it.’

“When the governor says we can, and we can start gathering again and have a parade on Main Street and Market Street and the regular parade route, that’s what we’ll go back to,” she said.

“I just feel so grateful to God that we’re coming through this COVID. There’s so much to be optimistic about. We’ve got such a wonderful town. Officers like Greg Clark make this place shine. It’s an opportunity to celebrate spring, resurrections, rebirth and, especially this year with all of us getting huddled inside and we’re all getting vaccinated, it’s just a lot to celebrate.

The parade route map is on the city website at stclairsville.com.

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