YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The holiday season officially kicked off in Youngstown Friday night! Organizers estimated 10,000 people would line the streets downtown for the annual parade and tree lighting.
“This is the parade to be in now,” Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown said.
This year’s event was bigger and better than ever — 70 floats, 15 bands and hundreds taking part or watching from the sidewalks.
“It reminds me when I was a young kid and parades were downtown,” Brown said. “It’s just good to see people coming to Youngstown, Ohio to participate in this.”
But the city can’t do it alone.
“There’s so many people that came together, so many organizations, to make this event possible,” said downtown coordinator Terrill Vidale.
Organizers wanted more high school bands to be able to march this year and show off their musical talents.
“That was one of the things that was missing,” Vidale said. “We needed those bands so Home Savings Bank made that possible.”
This year, the bank gave each band a thousand dollars to participate in the parade. Their transportation was also paid for.
“We’re trying to make it easy for each band to participate,” Vidale said.
Those who came downtown Friday night definitely noticed.
“Every year it gets bigger,” Rob Lancey said. “We love it!”
And so do we! Once again, some of your favorite news personalities from WYTV and sister station WKBN walked the route, happy to meet everyone in our community.
“This is our first time bringing my 2-year-old son, Zane, and I wanted him to see Santa and get into the Christmas spirit because it’s our favorite time of the year,” Nyame Kyewehby said.
As the parade came to an end, Santa made his big entrance.
Then the moment everyone had been waiting for — the tree lighting — followed by a new surprise this year.
“I love the fireworks,” Brian Baughman said. “I didn’t know those were going to be here. All of this activity in downtown Youngstown, it’s so nice to see.”
“I think it was awesome,” Kyewehby said. “My favorite part was someone did their hair like Cindy Lou Who and then he got to see Santa, which he went nuts about, so that’s my favorite part. And, obviously, this awesome tree!”