15th Annual Jingle Bell Jog, Lions Club Pancake Feed, Christmas Parade Set for Saturday

By Julie Perine on November 26, 2017 via

Saturday is a big day in the city; one which starts off with the 15th Annual Jingle Bell Jog. Dressed in running gear - or creative holiday fitness attire -  participants will meet at the Benedum Civic Center, geared up for the 5K course which stretches across the Bridgeport trail system to City Park, looping the youth playing fields twice and back to the city hub. Times will be available upon finishing. Some will run for their personal best time and some will leisurely walk the course to soak up the festive atmosphere. All finishers will be treated to a ticket for the Lions Club Pancake Feed at the Civic Center and all will be part of a community effort to provide dozens of shiny new toys to area children through the Salvation Army. 
In  lieu of a registration fee, runners/walkers are asked to bring one new, unrapped toy. In recent years, upwards of 80 dolls, games and other toys have resulted from the event, chaired by fitness enthusiasts Mary Ann Renzelli and Stacy Bolle. Suggested value of the donated toy is $10, but the outcome is priceless, organizers said. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. with the race commencing at 8:30 a.m. 
From 8 a.m through noon, Bridgeport Lions Club will host its annual Pancake Feed at Benedum Civic Center. Eat-in or carry-out pancake and sausage breakfasts will be available at the cost of $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12 and free for kids under 5. All proceeds benefit the Bridgeport/Harrison County community in the form of sight conservation projects, free eye exam, diabetes testing clinics, free eyeglasses, food panty support, school drug prevention programs and services of the Clarksburg Mission. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 304-842-5895. They will also be available at the Civic Center on Saturday. Many community members will enjoy the hot meal before and after the Bridgeport Christmas Parade. 
Organized by Bridgeport Parks and Recreation, the parade is set for 10 a.m. Participating units - bands, dance groups, civic clubs, police and fire departments, sports teams, school organizations and businesses will line up at 9 a.m. at their designated spots along Fifth Street, Grand Avenue and Third Street. In recent years, around 50 units have participated, said Kathy Csonka of Bridgeport Parks and Recreation. It's not too late to get in on the action. Units still have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to register by completing the attached form and sending or delivering to Bridgeport Parks and Recreation, 164 West Main Street, Bridgeport, WV 26330. Forms are also available at the Civic Center office. Registered units can call 304-842-8240 to find out line-up  location. The parade forms near the Main Street/ Route 131 intersection and proceeds west on Main Street, ending at the Civic Center. There, Santa and Mrs. Claus - who will serve as parade marshals - will be available for meet and greet and hot chocolate. 
Motorists are advised that there will be one-way traffic on Third and Fifth Streets, as well as Grand Avenue beginning at 8:45 a.m. Main Street will be closed to traffic from approximately 9:30 a.m. through about 11 a.m. Community residents always come out in full force to watch the parade, which can be viewed along Main Street between Fourth Street and the Civic Center. 
Csonka said the city would like to see this year's parade the biggest to date. She hopes groups will take advantage of the holiday procession to share their accomplishments, announce their presence in the city or spread holiday greetings. 
By Saturday, the Main Street corridor will be in prime holiday condition. Thursday is the city's annual Light Up Night, during which time the city Christmas tree will be lit and all city decorations will be in place. Light Up Night also features area businesses, which will set up tents along Main Street and offer free goodies - from hot chocolate and apple cider to cookies, donuts and novelties. More information will be provided this week with details on participating vendors, entertainment and speakers. 
"When you put everything together, it's really a down-home type of community event," said Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Joe Shuttleworth. "I imagine most everyone leaves that day feeling pretty good." 

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