WYOMING -- Hundreds lined almost three miles of Wyoming Avenue on a sunny Sunday afternoon for the second annual West Side Santa Parade organized by the leaders of Wyoming and Forty Fort boroughs.
Children and adults of all ages sat along the normally busy thoroughfare in anticipation of Santa Claus's appearance.
More than 40 service vehicles and local first responders from several neighboring municipalities joined the fun along with local businesses that provided decorated floats.
They all proceeded from Wyoming's First Street to the Memorial Park in Forty Fort, escorting Old Saint Nick for his adoring fans.
The parade serves as the official kick-off of the holiday season, said Wyoming Mayor Robert Boyer. He thanked officials and Forty Fort Mayor Boyd Hoats as well as members of the Wyoming Recreation Board for backing the parade.
Because of the success of last year's parade both boroughs sought to continue this new tradition, Boyer said.
It's fun for everybody. It's a great family event, he said.
Adrienne Panuski, who rode in the Luzerne County Citizens for Clean Air float, said the group participated because it cares for the local communities just like the other parade participants.
We want to show our support and have fun, Panuski said. We also want to build awareness about our concerns over the local gas industry, she said.
Other parade participants used the occasion to strut their stuff in the holiday spirit. Representatives from King's College adorned one of the floats with holiday messages, and the Jeannie Zano Band provided a rolling musical display that trumpeted holiday tunes.
Mayor Boyer said one of the objectives of the parade is to help local businesses realize a boost during the parade day and the upcoming shopping weeks.
When the parade stopped in Forty Fort, officials lit this year's Christmas tree.
Mayor Hoats said he expects the parade event to grow in popularity over the next couple of years, and added he is committed to helping it do so.
The people told us they want more and we will be willing to do more, Hoats said. We plan to expand and build upon this making it bigger and better.
Hoats stressed cooperation among the West Side communities is key to future stability and growth. He said the parade shows how they can work together.