MEDINA — For Ryan and Elisha Vitou, the annual Parade of Lights has become a holiday tradition.
They first came five years ago, after their son Wesley was born, and they haven’t missed a parade since.
The Medina couple, along with Wesley and his younger brother, Wyatt, 3, braved steady rain Saturday for their fifth straight Parade of Lights, which started at Medina High School and ended at Public Square.
“It’s a start to the holiday season,” Ryan Vitou said. “We wouldn’t miss it, rain or shine. There was no doubt we would be here.”
The parade was just one part of Medina’s holiday kickoff this past weekend. On Friday, Main Street Medina organized its 33rd annual Candlelight Walk in the Historic District, which included the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas tree in the Uptown Park gazebo.
Also, Mayor Dennis Hanwell led the community in a toast to the city’s yearlong bicentennial celebration. City Council members also were there, and the Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church Choir performed.
Throughout the weekend, actors playing historical characters handed out information about the bicentennial. The farmers market was open Saturday and Sunday. Two Lolly the Trolleys offered rides. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived in town Saturday night, and Sunday a group from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church sang carols by candlelight.
On Saturday, more than 30 local businesses, nonprofits and organizations marched and pulled floats in the parade. The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts participated. The Medina County Marine Corps League Detachment 569 led the way.
Umbrellas were the parade’s unofficial theme — everybody carried one. On the Square, people found shelter from the rain under store overhangs.
Lisa and Clifford Norton, of Medina, said that witnessing the parade was worth a little dampness.
“It reminds me of Christmas,” Lisa Norton said.
John and Shirley Siwicki drove from Cortland to tour Castle Noel, the famous Medina Christmas museum. Then they grabbed a bite to eat and watched the parade.
“It could be worse,” John Siwicki said of the weather. “There could be a ton of snow out here.”
Shirley Siwicki had never seen the Parade of Lights and she said her friends raved about it.
“They just told me how pretty it was and the different lights they had,” Shirley Siwicki said.
David and Mary Rek of Mineral Ridge accompanied the Siwickis.
“I have never been to the parade,” Mary Rek said. “The square is beautiful. They did an outstanding job.”
“They told me Santa throws out $100 bills,” David Rek joked.
“I wouldn’t mind waiting in the rain for that,” Shirley Siwicki laughed.
Messages may be left for Bob Sandrick at (330) 721-4060.