COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WYTV) – If we’ve said it once we’ve said it a million times, things are looking different this holiday season because of COVID-19. But, looking different doesn’t mean it has to feel different.
Friday night in Columbiana, it felt just as full of joy and happiness as it would any year with their “reverse” Christmas Spectacular.
The tree was up, the lights were hung and about a dozen Christmas floats lined Main Street, even Mrs. Claus was there.
“Everybody needs a little love and lift up their spirits and be happy,” Mrs. Claus said.
This year, instead of having people fill the streets, standing side by side as the floats go by, the Columbiana Chamber of Commerce flipped it. Cars of people drove by the floats as they sat stationary. One was even blowing out snow, making it a true “White Christmas.”
“It would have been much easier for them just to cancel the parade and probably nobody would have said anything because we’re very supportive of our people in our town but they went that extra mile,” said Wish List employee James Beach.
Bringing that Christmas spirit was something people say was desperately needed.
“They wouldn’t stop talking about it. They were super excited. It breaks up the monotony of what we’ve all been going through,” said Columbiana Softball Association president Vinny Gala.
Businesses were open. A few people were popping in and out of coffee shops, not nearly as many as there would be on a normal year. But, the business owners we talked to couldn’t have been happier to have the extra customers.
“This year, we were so unsure what was gonna happen so I’m glad they pulled it together. There’s been a lot of people just kind of roaming around, coming in for some lattes and some hot chocolate,” said Generations Coffee Shop owner Jen Balint.
We kept thinking the line of cars would let up, but it didn’t. Each car that drove by had kids and adults whose faces were lit up.
“You see the little kids down the street here as soon as I walked in the shop they were like, ‘Oh!’ and I [said], ‘Are you good?’ and I gave ’em candy and it was like for a minute they were happy and that’s what we need, we need more happiness,” Mrs. Claus said.
Around 6:30 p.m., one of the organizers said there were still about 200 cars at the Sparkle Market where the parade of vehicles started.
Traffic was pretty backed up, but people didn’t seem to mind by the time they got to the floats, dancers and Christmas music.