Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/929557

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 30, 2014

Cold doesn’t chill holiday spirit

By David Hotle | Nov 26, 2012

This year the annual lighting of the square was led by none other than jolly old St. Nick himself. With the raising of a magic wand on the Central Park bandshell, the building scape around the square lit up for the holidays.
Even with fewer people in attendance and fewer features in the annual lighted parade, Main Street Washington director Sarah Sadrakula said the annual event was a success. She cited the proximity to Thanksgiving and the sudden cold and windy weather as the reason for a lack of people around the square for the event.
“Friday was great,” she said. “We had a good turnout for the parade and the lighting. Several people told me they felt the parade was shorter than normal, but it could have been the cold. I think we had a good turnout for the amount of stuff we had going on.”
She said the floats and Christmas displays that traveled the square during the 16th annual lighted parade were well done. In all, there were 23 entries in the parade.
Prize-winning floats included: the Little Demons’ Fifth Grade basketball team; Marie Electric; and Studio E! Dance Tumbling and Baton.
As the sun went down and the lighted event started, temperatures fell into the mid-20s. Most people attending the event were wearing many layers of warm clothes and some wrapped in blankets. Many turned out to the new events surrounding the lighting of the square, when over 1,000 lights that outline the buildings were lit.
“We decided to do something a little different and a little special,” she said. “We incorporated Relay for Life and Santa more into that lighting ceremony. We just wanted to get people more involved.”
During the event, American Cancer Society community relations coordinator Kierstan Peck announced Washington County Relay for Life is closing in on the $1 million collected mark and believes to surpass it during the 2013 event.
There were many speakers from Main Street Washington and the Washington Chamber of Commerce. At the end of the event, Santa lifted the magic wand to light each side of the square.
Sadrakula said that the Breakfast with Santa and the Jingle Bell Run were both well attended. She said that the breakfast had drawn about 110 people while the 5K had drawn 130 where usually 90 run.
“For next year we can hopefully tie those events together more,” she said.
Sadrakula said that the new Main Street Washington float had gone over well. She said that she hadn’t seen it until it passed her during the parade.
“It came out much better than I expected,” she said. “Tom Billips and Shirley Snyder really headed that and they did such a great job.”
She said that work has already begun on next year’s Showcasing Nights of Washington (S.N.O.W.) event. While the lighting event hasn’t been discussed yet, Sadrakula said that she has some ideas for the Shop and Stroll event to give it “more atmosphere.”

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