Santa Claus received a “Rock Star” welcome to North Royalton on Sunday, November 29, during the 15th annual Christmas Parade and Lighting of the City Green Ceremony.
Traditionally, Santa Claus arrives in North Royalton riding on the back of a NR Fire Department ladder truck. This year was no exception. As Santa climbed down the Fire Truck ladder, he was immediately surrounded by children and by more than a few adults who wanted a picture of, or a ‘selfie’ with the Star of the Parade. Santa was escorted to his temporary home on the City Green by two elves who rode with him on the fire truck.
The parade started at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church, turned west on Royalwood Road, then left onto Ridge Road and ended at the City Green. The parade was led by the North Royalton Color Guard and the North Royalton High School Marching Band’s 2015 Drumline.
After the Drumline passed me by, there were a number of floats that were decorated with holiday lights. “The lights on the floats makes it feel like Christmas,” said Kim Prusha, who was watching the parade with her father Jerry. “It brings out the Christmas Spirit in me.”
Watching the parade proceed down Ridge Road has become a tradition for Mark and Melissa Schreiber and their family. This was the fifth year that the couple and their boys, Brennan, Collin and Josh, have enjoyed the parade from their front yard.
“This begins our Christmas season. We spend the day decorating the tree, putting the lights up and watching the parade,” said Melissa. Another part of the Schreiber tradition with the parade, is Mark and his boys tossing the football around. “It’s the season,” said Mark.
Watching the parade, any parade in North Royalton for that matter, is tradition for Hi View Drive resident Pat Stang. “I came to see Santa Claus and to start the holiday season. North Royalton does a great job with its parades.”
Besides welcoming Santa Claus to North Royalton, the second part of the ceremony is the traditional lighting of the ‘Avenue of Trees’ on the City Green. That task is handled by North Royalton Mayor Bob Stefanik and a gazebo full of children. Following the five-four-three-two-one traditional countdown, the lights came to life on the trees. The trees, sponsored by some 70 North Royalton businesses, are decorated with red, blue or multi-colored lights. Mayor Stefanik said flipping the switch to put the holiday lights is one of his ‘fun’ duties. “I’d like to thank the service clubs of North Royalton, Camille Price, and the Holiday Lighting Committee for their hard work in making this lighting ceremony a reality year after year.”
The Mayor also thanked city workers for stringing the lights and for getting the City Green ready for the event.
In case you don’t remember, money raised from the Harvest Fest in September is traditionally used for the Lighting Ceremony and for replacing lights and strands that may have been damaged since last year.
While the kids, and mom-n-dad, waiting in the long line for the chance to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas, members of the Royalton Hills Lions Club served hot chocolate, donuts and Twinkies to those standing in line.
Joyce Harrison and Pat Stahorsky were “working the counter” inside their temporary green home (Judy’s Chocolate Café). “This is my 12th year at the event,” said Joyce. “I just love seeing the smiles on the children’s faces.” Pat said, “It’s our way (Royalton Hills Lions Club) to give back to the community.”
As I was on my way out of Santa’s temporary home, a youngster asked why it had to be so cold. Someone told him, “it’s November, it’s tradition.”
Hope you can join the North Royalton Holiday Tradition next year.
Contributing Writer