December 18, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
28°F
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Lorain celebrates as it turns on this year’s Christmas lights

LORAIN – Between 4,000 and 5,000 people filled Veterans Park, Lakeview Park and Broadway on Saturday for the annual Christmas Parade and Light Up Lorain festival.

Pride in the city was the theme of the day as Mayor Tony Krasienko and U.S. Rep Betty Sutton spoke to the crowd braving 33-degree temperatures to see the light displays.

“I am so proud of this city,” Krasienko said, talking about new construction and businesses returning. “Everyone should go back and tell people to come to Lorain to see this light show.”

Sharon Washington, of Lorain, and her grandchildren, Javeona, 12, and Jaquarius Webb, 9, of Lorain, were enjoying their first Christmas festival. They were excited about the park displays being lit up, but were also hoping to share their Christmas list with Santa Clause who rode into Veterans Park at the end of the parade on a fire truck.

Jasmine and Jesse Clutter, 7 and 6, of Vermilion, were also excited about Santa Clause and the light show on City Hall’s facade that is set to music. Their grandmother, Alberta Bulan, said she was looking forward to some family fun, including riding the trolley to Lakeview Park, visiting with Santa and watching the horse-drawn carriages.

Joe Skodny, chairman of the Downtown Lorain Christmas Council, said the group raised more than $66,000 in six weeks to help decorate the city – this year with an additional 60,000 LED lights.

“Everybody is collectively of the spiritual mindset to bring joy and happiness to anyone who comes downtown during Christmas,” Skodny said of his group’s efforts.

Sutton, too, commented on the beauty of the decorations and the pride of Lorain’s citizens.

“Lorain is blessed to have a sense of togetherness,” she said.

Krasienko ended the program in Veterans Park with his traditional reading of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” to dozens of children gathered in front of the gazebo before the switch was flipped and the displays ringing the park lit up to the delight of the crowd.

A trackless train, a rocket car, a hay wagon and fireworks rounded out the day’s events.

Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7155 or acastelli@chroniclet.com.