WILKES-BARRE – Sponsors have come up with nearly $25,000 for the Christmas parade on Saturday to the relief of the city as it struggles to plug a nearly $2 million hole in the budget.
The parade bringing Santa Claus into the downtown is part of an afternoon of entertainment and fun for children and adults. The lighting of the city Christmas tree on Public Square caps the festivities.
The city budgeted $1,000 for the tree-lighting ceremony after the parade and was not in a position to spend more for the parade given the revenue shortfall.
Mayor Tom Leighton, members of his administration and department heads are in the process of deciding which employees will be furloughed until the end of the year to cut payroll expenses to close the budget gap.
The city has always solicited sponsorships for the parade, but the response this year was better than previous ones, said Drew McLaughlin, the city's administrative coordinator.
A total of 28 groups and businesses donated $24,795 with contributions from:
Boscov's Department Stores, $5,000; McCarthy Tire, $5,000; PNC Bank, $2,500; Petroleum Service Co. Inc., $2,000; Luzerne Bank, $1,000; Johnson Controls, $1,000; Humford Equities, $1,000; Colours Inc., $1,000; Frontier Communications, $1,000; Luzerne County Visitors and Convention Bureau, $1,000; Franchelli Enterprises Inc., $1,000; Dunkin Donuts, $500; Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association, $500; Service Electric Cable TV, $500; RJG law offices $500; LAG Towing, $300; Liberty Tax Service, $200; Marx Sheet Metal & Mechanical, $200; John Maday, $100; Bear Creek Community Charter School, $100; Luzerne Optical Laboratories, $100; Schiel's Family Market, $100; Cross Valley FCU, $50; Hapkido Taekwondo Institute, $50; Wilkes-Barre Cosmos Soccer Club, $25; Reeves Rent-A-John, $25; and TCK Mixed Martial Arts, $20.
The parade begins at 3:15 p.m. at South and South Main streets and proceeds to Public Square.
Events are scheduled throughout the afternoon: Noon – Free admission to Arthur Christmas at Movies 14 with the donation of an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots; 12:30 p.m. storytelling at Barnes & Noble; 1:30 p.m. Youniversal Suzuki Strings at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts; 2 p.m. Christmas carol sing-along with Miss Ruthy Stock at the reviewing stand on Public Square; 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. face painting by Just Plain Crazy Face Art.