WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Santa’s back in town for an annual northeastern Pennsylvania tradition. The city of Wilkes-Barre held its annual Christmas parade and tree lighting this afternoon.
Sights and sounds of the holiday season and jolly Saint Nick were in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
“If you’re not in the Christmas spirit after today, you’re never gonna be in the Christmas spirit,” said Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown.
Crowds gathered for the return of the Diamond City’s annual Christmas parade and tree lighting celebration. It’s back after the pandemic forced a scaled-down version last year.
“It is so incredible to see it come back and to see the entire community kind of get back into the flow of some resemblance of normalcy,” stated Victoria Vespico, Miss Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
More than four dozen entries and hundreds of parade participants walked and rode through Center City.
“It’s nice to get her out and see what’s going on around the area and see the lights,” said Danyelle Zweizig.
“It was really heartwarming to see a lot of families come together to see Santa,” said Adele Deemer.
As people flocked to the city, some small business owners around Public Square buzzed with excitement.
“Anything that brings foot traffic is wonderful because if somebody comes in and they’ll see something, maybe they don’t buy it now but they’ll remember it and come back,” explained Joanne Zarick, Owner of Bee Hive Gift Shop.
After the long pandemic, supporting locals is more important than ever.
“Do your shopping in Wilkes-Barre, make sure that you give back to the small businesses,” said Mayor Brown.