November 29 – ANDOVER – Children lined Andover Square on Saturday night as families gathered to welcome Santa into town and witness one of the biggest Christmas parades in recent memory.
The Andover Region Chamber of Commerce, under the direction of Executive Director Lara Reibold, sponsored the parade and various pre and post parade activities. She said people were excited about the Simply Christmas event after it was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
Jim Loiko showed his skills as an ice sculptor to visitors and residents. He said he did demonstrations from 2:30 p.m. until just before the parade started at 6 p.m. Businesses in the area also provided a variety of food items for those attending the festivities.
Reibold said the Elks Club Ladies Auxiliary did a lot of work to increase the parade units, which included the Pymatuning Valley High School Marching Band, many fire trucks and tanks.
The arrival of Santa Claus was a great moment for the children who lined up in front of a pavilion to have their picture taken with the visitor to the North Pole.
Betty Legg, of Andover, was one of the first people to see Santa Claus with her granddaughter Willow Hauger, 1, of Conneaut.
âWe came to see Santa because we haven’t seen him yet,â Legg said.
Two more parades are scheduled for next weekend, with the Geneva event set to start at 7 p.m. Friday and Jefferson at 6 p.m. Saturday.