YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – An estimated 10,000 people crowded into downtown Youngstown Friday evening for what has now become an annual tradition — the holiday parade and tree lighting, and for the second straight year, The Flea on Phelps.
At its peak, The Flea on Phelps attracted 6,000 people, including Youngstown’s mayor and the police and fire chiefs, who all posed for a picture.
“If you look around the people that are here, not just Youngstown residents but regional residents. I’ve even heard they have family coming in from out of town just to see this, and that’s what we want in Youngstown,” said Mayor Tito Brown.
“Oh, I’m always impressed with how our city turns out for our local small businesses,” said Derrick McDowell, organizer of The Flea on Phelps.
McDowell says it’s downtown Youngstown that’s the lure.
“It’s just magic. So I think people love the essence of what downtown brings — the window displays, the ability to shop right in their own community,” McDowell said.
Reporter Stan Boney: “Are there more people than you expected?”
Sarah Wilschek, of Liberty: “Oh yeah, we were here at four o’clock. There was nowhere to park and it’s packed and it’s great.”
The West Branch band was one of 11 that took part in the parade.
“I think that it’s really great for the entire community and I think it’s really important just especially how things are right now to do stuff like this,” said Allyson Hartzell, a senior piccolo player for the West Branch band.
The parade started at the Covelli Centre, then marched up Federal Street and back. In some places, the crowd was five deep, and half of the crowd was kids.
Na’tyce Byers, of Austintown: “It was really good.”
Reporter Samantha Bender: “So what has been your favorite part so far about tonight?”
Asar Warren, of Austintown: “My favorite part was when I saw Santa and the Grinch.”
Boney: “Are you impressed with how many people are down here?”
Tracy Reinard, of Cortland: “Yeah, I was shocked. We couldn’t find anywhere to park but we made it and I love the turnout. It’s awesome.”
The night ended with the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree, which will stay lit through New Year’s Day.