The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 16, 2012

Hundreds throng downtown as Santa highlights parade

Dave Sutor

JOHNSTOWN — Downtown Johnstown is aglow with the light and spirit of Christmas.

On Friday, children, musicians, parents and Santa Claus himself came together to ring in the holiday season with a night of festivities that culminated with the lighting of Central Park.

The celebration included the city’s annual Christmas parade and a performance by the Johns­town Symphony Chorus.

Hundreds of bundled-up people lined Main Street to join in the fun on a cold not-quite-yet winter’s night.

“It’s always great to see the community come out,” said Bill Wilkinson, a member of the chorus.

Wilkinson and his fellow singers started the night with a concert in the park’s gazebo.

“It’s definitely something we look forward to every year,” Wilkinson said.

“We always have the group come out and join in with the Christmas season. With the symphony’s Christmas concert coming up in a couple of weeks, it kind of helps tie all of that in together.”

Onlookers watched marching bands, floats and Macy’s-style giant balloons pass down Main Street for almost an hour.

The West End Ambulance Service chose a Grinch theme for its float.

“It was something the kids liked,” said Janice Livingston, a paramedic with the ambulance group.

Bishop McCort Catholic High School’s marching band received the honor of leading Santa Claus along the route.

“It’s the Christmas parade; we have to be here. It’s one of those parades that the town likes coming to, we like coming to and the kids love playing,” said the band’s director, Keith Kuckenbrod.