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Jane Lew (West Virginia) Town Council Shuffles Annual Holiday Plans

For the first time in decades, the Town of Jane Lew will not parade through town the weekend following Thanksgiving to welcome the holiday season.

“A lengthy discussion” at October’s council meeting laid out a new plan for this December, Mayor Ruth Straley said: Christmas Festival in the Park. The first festival is scheduled for 4-8 p.m. Dec. 2 in Jane Lew Park.

Council members began the conversation in September, but leaders wanted more time to consider the impact of their decision.

“It was a tough decision because it’s tradition,” said Straley, whose mother helped coordinate the parade in the 1970s. “But, over the past few years, we’ve had a really hard time getting anyone to participate. It was such a short parade (in 2022).”

Councilman Derek Harbert brainstormed the idea, also citing the parade’s low turnout.

“My thought process is that (eventually) this could be something ongoing throughout the Christmas season,” he said. “This is the first year and something we want to build on during the next few years. It would be something that would bring people into town.”

String lights that normally hung along the parade route will be displayed in Jane Lew Park, along with even more that will be purchased.

“We want people who come to see lights everywhere,” Straley said. “Before, there used to be some lights in the park but there didn’t used to be lights on the far ballfield. But now, we will [have lights] clear to the edge of the park — outlining the Park Building, the restrooms, the basketball court, etc. Around all of the ballfields will be lights, like walking in a winter wonderland.”

Jane Lew Lions Club members will continue to use the Park Building as the annual Santa’s House. For many years, Santa has been available to visit with the children with crafts and refreshments as they wait as well.

“The park doesn’t get used very much in the wintertime, so I thought it would be cool that you could walk through while looking at lights,” Harbert said, who has ridden through the parade and hosted families before as a member of the Jane Lew Volunteer Fire Department. Harbert’s wife Lacy and kids Greyson and Sawyer will be involved this year.

Council members hope local church parishioners will set up a live Nativity scene in the park while festival-goers enjoy live music, different cuisine via at least three food trucks and the lighting of a Christmas tree.

Fireworks will provide a scintillating ending to the event.

“It is the Town Council’s hope that everyone who participated in and watched the parade will now embrace our Christmas Festival,” Straley said.

Source: WV News