HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) — Over 10,000 people gathered along State Street in Hermitage for the 24th annual Holiday Lights Parade on Saturday. Our reporter Hanna Erdmann was one of four judges.

Around 75 businesses, bands, clubs and nonprofits decorated floats and joined in. The participants compete within categories and are judged on originality, creativity, use of lights and music, and their holiday theme.

“People do a wonderful job, very unique. Every year people have — it’s amazing what they do creativity-wise or whatever, so it’s something that the city is very proud of,” said Hermitage Parks and Recreation director Ed Chess.

The parade honored Chess, who is retiring this year. He’s been in the position since 1998 and helps organize the parade.

“Prior to ’98, the city didn’t have a Parks and Recreation department. To be appointed as that, the first Parks and Recreation director, is to see how some of the programs have grown and obviously this is one of the community events that has grown,” Chess said.

Despite the freezing temperatures on Saturday, families started lining the street at 9 a.m. for a good view of the parade.

“I just love seeing everyone out here today, it’s so cold and so windy but it didn’t stop everybody from coming out,” said incoming Parks and Recreation director Jessica Gotch.

“Working with Ed’s been great, learning everything that he’s done from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, I’m just excited about all of it. I’m excited to keep up what he’s got going on and what he’s built up with things like the parade and the summer rec program,” Gotch said.

She said they are already planning new events for next year.

Below are a list of winners from the event.


1st Kennedy Catholic
2nd Penn State Shenango
3rd West Middlesex Transportation


Host Band – Hickory HS Marching Band
1st Greenville HS Marching Band
2nd Jamestown HS Marching Band


1st Misscellaneous Dance Studio
2nd Alessandra’s Dance Academy
3rd Pennsylvania Dance
4th Twirling Angels

Clubs & Organizations

1st Cub Scout pack 52 Boy Scout troop 52
2nd Mercer County Jeepers
3rd Jordan family
4th Shenango Valley Girl Scouts

Iceberg awards

Corporate A – over 30 feet in length

1st Hermitage Agway
2nd Estes Express Lines
3rd Citizens Bank

Corporate B – under 30 feet in length

1st Dream Builders Child Care
2nd Waterstone Mortgage
3rd Fette Veterinary

Municipal – local & county officials, fire departments

1st PennDOT
2nd US Army Corps of Engineers
3rd Sharon Fire Department

Nonprofit floats

1st Lighthouse Baptist Church
2nd Mercer County ABATE
3rd Animal Protection League

Special recognition awards

Twinkle Award – presented to the entry with the brightest lights

Alessandra’s Dance Academy

Santas Choice – presented to the entry exhibiting the most holiday spirit

Fette Veterinary

Most Unique – presented to the entry demonstrating a creative and unique float  design

Berkshire Hathaway

Most Entertaining – presented to the entry with the best holiday music or entertainment theme

Treehouse Preschool

Community award

Community Food Warehouse

Judges choice awards

Dean Dairy
M&D Paving
Honest Amish
Children’s Aid Society
Jolly Ranchers 4H
Diehl Automotive of Hermitage