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White Oak plans activities, tree-lighting at Rainbow fire hall
(Tube City Almanac file photo by Richard Finch Jr.)
McKeesport's 55th annual Salute to Santa parade will kick off the Christmas season at 11 a.m. Saturday along Fifth Avenue, Downtown.
Then, on Saturday evening, White Oak will light the borough's holiday tree with a celebration at Rainbow Volunteer Fire Co. on Long Run Road.
And McKeesport's 34th annual Festival of Trees is just a few weeks away.
First up is "Salute to Santa," one of the largest Christmas parades in Western Pennsylvania.
The parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Palisades Ballroom, Fifth Avenue and Water Street, and proceeds up the street to McKeesport City Hall at the corner of Fifth and Sinclair.
State Sen. Jim Brewster, a former McKeesport mayor and lifelong city resident, will serve as grand marshal.
"Rain or shine, this event always proves to be a favorite for local families," McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said. "Nothing beats the smiles on kids' faces when they're watching our high school band, catching candy or seeing Santa ride through Downtown on our fire truck."
About 70 units are expected to participate this year, including police motorcycles and fire trucks, the Allegheny County Police mounted unit, the combined McKeesport Area High School/Serra Catholic High School marching bands, LaRosa Boys & Girls Club and Duquesne-West Mifflin Boys & Girls Club, McKeesport Little Tigers football team and cheerleaders, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts, Carnegie Library of McKeesport and Penn State Greater Allegheny.
Master of ceremonies again this year will be "Mikey Dee" Dorich, who serves a similar role at McKeesport's International Village.
Weather-permitting, live video of the parade will be streamed by Tube City Online/WMCK Internet Radio.
Children's party at Palisades 12 noon Saturday
A children's party, refreshments and an opportunity to visit with Santa will follow the parade at 12 noon at the Palisades, where the queen and princess of the parade will be crowned.
Last year's princess, Teegan Lewis of Mary of Nazareth Catholic School, and queen, Eycyius Csorba of McKeesport Area High School, will be joined by this year's candidates, Danielle List, a McKeesport Area cheerleader, and Ashley Peffercorn, a member of the McKeesport Area band.
Churches, classic car clubs and civic organizations also are planning to march.
White Oak celebration 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday
White Oak's "Season of Lights" celebration begins at 2 p.m. Saturday at Rainbow Volunteer Fire Co., when children are invited to have a pancake and sausage brunch with Santa. Children 16 and under are admitted free and all others pay $2.
A spokesperson said there will be local entertainment, photos with Santa, prizes and gifts for kids.
At 6 p.m., Santa and the winner of the borough's annual coloring contest will turn the switch to light the borough's holiday tree.
Festival of Trees begins Dec. 5 at Renzie
Speaking of trees, McKeesport's 34th annual Festival of Trees gets underway Dec. 5 at Jacob Woll Pavilion in Renziehausen Park.
More than 100 decorated Christmas trees will be on display at the pavilion and the nearby McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center and Garden Club of McKeesport.
The trees are decorated by community groups, schools and businesses, and many of them feature handmade or unusual ornaments that depict the sponsoring organizations' activities.
Concessions will be sold and live entertainment will be featured daily, along with hayrides through the park.
The Festival of Trees will remain open daily from 12 noon to 9 p.m. Dec. 5 through 9.
Parade lineup for Saturday (subject to change):
- Police Motorcycles (McKeesport, North Versailles, Allegheny County)
- McKeesport Area High School Air Force JROTC (Honor Guard and Cadets)
- Allegheny County Mounted Unit (4 Horses with Officers)
- Public Officials (City, County, State, Neighboring Communities … On Foot)
- LaRosa Boys & Girls Club (On Foot)
- Men of Valor & Ladies of Valor (On Foot)
- Grand Marshal James R. Brewster, escorted by Riverview Chevrolet (Pickup Truck)
- Police K-9 Dogs (On Foot)
- Police Chief (Tahoe)
- Assistant Police Chief (Tahoe)
- Fire Deputy (Deputy’s Rig)
- EMS Chief (Truck)
- Princess/Queen Candidates (escorted by Riverview Chevrolet, pickup truck)
- Duquesne/West Mifflin Boys & Girls Club Drill Team (On Foot)
- McKeesport Fire Department Mini-Fire Truck (Carrying Ms. Pat from Club)
- Puzzlers Restaurant & Lounge (Van)
- Paws Across Pittsburgh (SUV and On Foot)
- YouthCAST Leadership Network (On Foot)
- McKeesport Baseball Association (On Foot)
- McKeesport Area High School Band/Serra Catholic High School Band (Combined on Foot)
- McKeesport Area Cheerleaders (On Foot)
- Twin Rivers Elementary AIMS Program (On Foot)
- Classic Cars
- Carnegie Library of McKeesport – Very Hungry Caterpillar (Float)
- Carnegie Library of McKeesport “YO” Teen Program (On Foot)
- McKeesport Little Tigers Cheerleaders & Football (Pickup Truck)
- Penn State Greater Allegheny (Chancellor, Nittany Lion, Students)
- Christy Park UMC Celebrity Kids Kitchen (Float)
- Cub Scout Pack 916 of McKeesport (On Foot)
- Girl Scout Troop 58112 of White Oak (On Foot)
- McKeesport Recreation Board (Float) featuring McKeesport Little Theater Juniors
- Mary Ann & Company Dance Studio (On Foot)
- Eat’n Park (On Foot with Mascot)
- PurePenn (Float)
- Mary of Nazareth Catholic School (Float)
- Nuttall Public Safety (Truck and Mascot on Foot)
- Mon Valley Independent (Float)
- Pennsylvania American Water (Truck and Mascot on Foot)
- McKeesport Housing Authority (Truck)
- Another Shoulder, LLC (Car)
- Tube City Community Media (Car)
- McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center (Car)
- McKeesport Trail Commission (Car)
- McKeesport Lions Club (Car)
- Black Berets (On Foot)
- White Oak Rotary Club (Float)
- McKeesport Area High School Golf Team (On Foot)
- New Century Careers (Pickup Truck)
- Legion Arms Humvee (Vehicle)
- Big’s Sanitation (Garbage Truck)
- Gorring Automotive (Two Flatbed Trucks)
- UPMC Emergency Medicine
- McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Services
- Police Cars:
- a. McKeesport
- b. Clairton
- c. Liberty Borough
- d. North Versailles
- e. Port Vue
- f. Versailles
- Clairton Volunteer Fire Department
- Dravosburg Volunteer Fire Department No. 1
- Fire Department of North Versailles
- Liberty Borough Volunteer Fire Department
- United Fire and Rescue (East McKeesport)
- Glassport Citizens Hose Co. No. 1
- Port Vue Vigilant Hose Co.
- West Mifflin: Duquesne Annex
- Blaine Hill VFC
- McKeesport Ladder Truck – Santa Claus
Jason Togyer is the editor of The Tube City Almanac and volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published November 21, 2019.