Holiday parade winds its way back to downtown Youngstown

By David Skolnick

YOUNGSTOWN — After a lengthy absence, the Downtown Youngstown Holiday Parade returns Dec. 5.

Organizers aren’t expecting a huge crowd for the parade, but anticipate it growing in popularity in years to come.

“It’s not going to be a big grandiose thing, but we want to get it started again and bring people downtown,” said Councilman John R. Swierz, D-7th, and the chairman of First Night Youngstown’s parade committee.

“We don’t have major expectations, but we want to get it started and help it grow in future years.”

The city and First Night are cosponsoring the parade.

The last Youngstown Holiday Parade [then known as the Youngstown Christmas Parade] too place in the early 1990s, Swierz said.

At the time, downtown had lost many of its stores and “interest waned” for the annual parade that had begun in the 1940s, Swierz said.

Because the downtown is enjoying a revitalization, it’s time to bring the parade back, he said.

The parade attracted 50,000 to 60,000 annually in the mid-1950s, according to Vindicator files.

“People are excited we’re bringing it back,” said Lyndsey A. Hughes, the city’s downtown director of special events and special projects. “This is the start. We want to get the tradition up and running.”

The parade steps off on Andrews Avenue about 3 p.m. and goes to East Federal Street before ending on the city’s Central Square.

The city’s Christmas tree on the Central Square will be lit about 4:30 p.m.

The parade will include local fire and police departments, elected officials, community organizations, businesses and Santa Claus.

Participation in the parade is free. Those wanting to participate need to contact Hughes at (330) 742-8710 or Swierz at (330) 788-5114 by Dec. 1.

Information on First Night Youngstown will be available at the parade. First Night is an alcohol-free, family-friendly event that features entertainers and activities on New Year’s Eve.

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