OTTAWA — Marching bands, floats, dance groups and scouting troops filled the streets of Ottawa on Sunday to usher in the Christmas season.
The 27th annual Welcome Santa Parade was sponsored by the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce. There were over 55 floats in the parade, according to Becky Fruchey, chamber executive director, who helped organize the parade with the help of assistant Kelly Theisen. There were 50 entries during last year’s parade.
“This parade is a good way to kick off the holiday spirit and a good way for the community to come downtown and watch the businesses and organizations in the parade,” Fruchey said.
The parade began at the corner of Pratt and 4th Streets near Water Works Road, proceeded to Main Street, turned west onto Main Street, north onto Oak Street and ended at Sts. Peter and Paul Church parking lot.
Melania Boninsegna, Ottawa, said it is a tradition for her family to attend the parade together.
She watched the parade go by with her two sons, Brantley, 5, and Roman, 2 and daughter Carmella, 4.
“The kids love to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want and also get candy in the parade,” Boninsegna said.
Brantley said he enjoys the parade each year and wants a stuffed bear for Christmas while Carmella wants a Sleeping Beauty doll.
The grand marshal was the Red Pig Inn, which was the 2018 Business of the Year. Ottawa-Glandorf and Miller City High Schools marched in the parade.
Ottawa Police Department and Putnam County Sheriffs Office lead the parade and color guards from the Recker-Trame VFW Post, Kerner Slusser American Legion Post 63, Disabled Veterans Chapter 77 and Amvets Post 2013 also participated. Putnam County fire departments displayed their fire trucks in the parade.
The parade emcee was Big Kahuna from 106.3 The Fox, announcing the groups in the parade as they went by.
Family activities following the parade included photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who passed out goody bags from Hunt Brother’s Candy Ottawa; horse-drawn wagon rides; a miniature train ride provided by Romick Railway, Findlay; live music and free chili and hot dogs served by Ottawa Kiwanis and Lions Club. Pepsi donated beverages and Casey’s donated cookies. Center Stage Dance Academy performed dance routines and there was a performance by the Ottawa-Glandorf High School Show Choir at the Rec Center.