Rain and Shine: Westminster holiday parade cancelled, but tree lighting goes on

Mr. and Ms. Claus led the tree lighting ceremony for the city of Westminster Saturday, Nov. 24 despite a downpour.

The weather outside was frightful.

And unfortunately that meant dashed hopes for the Miracle on Main Street Holiday Parade in Westminster. Kids and parents still made their way to the Westminster Branch of the Carroll County public Library for crafts, games and a chance to meet with Mr. and Ms. Claus.


The North Pole’s famous pair did the honor of lighting the city’s tree, which will be on Locust Lane across the library for the rest of the season. Though they did not make their traditional entrance via parade and Santa threw the switch from under the safety of a tent, he still did so with a cheerful countdown.

Members of the Clusta family were among the few to brave the downpour to watch the tree lighting. Helena and Luka were supposed to walk in the parade with their school, but liked seeing the tree lighting and were enjoying the activities at the library.

“They got to walk in with Santa and sit on Santa’s lap. There’s nothing better than that,” their mother, Ina, said.

“It gives them the holiday spirit,” their father, Joe, said.

The inside of the library was home to tables full of crafts and games, including reindeer antler headbands, a place to mail letters to Santa and paper Christmas trees lit by a battery-operated candle.

Santa and Ms. Claus were there in person to greet and talk to the children after fulfilling their duties at the tree lighting ceremony.

Rebekah Eyler, 10, was taking some time to color after speaking to Santa. Though she had hoped to run in the Jingle Bell Run with her aunt, she said her favorite activity was the small light-up Christmas tree.

Most of the games and crafts were manned by volunteers. For some, it was a chance for kids and parents to bond even as they were working

Syeda Khan was volunteering with her children Ali and Alizeh, both middle school students, in the game room. She has been coming to events at the library since before they were born and this is not the first time they have volunteered there together.

“Everyone here is awesome,” she said.

Ali and Alizeh were earning service learning hours and hope to have all the required hours by the time they get to high school.

“You’re guiding them from the beginning,” Khan said.

Caitlyn Ruch and her mother, Hope, were also volunteering together and said it was their tradition to volunteer around Halloween and Christmas. She was also earning service learning hours.

“It’s a fun bonding experience as mother and daughter,” Hope Ruch said.


Recreation and Parks and the library are always looking for volunteers, said Bonnie Hood, program coordinator for Westminster Recreation and Parks.

She said Koons Toyota of Westminster and Interstate Batteries made the event possible through sponsorship.

The Westminster Lions Club also helped sponsor the event and volunteers were handing out goody bags with apples, candy canes and oranges donated by Weis markets.

The club has been a part of the Miracle on Main Street in Westminster since it began, though their involvement in area holiday events goes back further.

Member Richard Hosfeld said he could remember going to a Lions Club event when he was 6 years old. Back then, the event was black tie and Santa gave a present to every child in attendance.

Guests continued to fill the library until 8 p.m.

“Normally on a good weather day, this is mobbed,” Hood said.

But when bad weather strikes, “We do the best we can and roll with it.”

She does not think there will be a rain date for the parade because it takes so many weeks to prepare, but hopes to do something to recognize the hard work of those who prepared floats and other creations to participate, like an online photo gallery.