The route of the annual Christmas Parade in downtown Warren this year won't be the only change, thanks to the efforts of Warren Main Street.
Aware of a shortage of funding for the Salvation Army, Dan Ristau and his committee approached Major Ronald Starnes of the local chapter with a plan to aid those who help so many. "We are very pleased and honored to be thought of," said Starnes upon hearing of the changes. "It was unexpected."
This year's "Red Kettle Parade" will feature a revised route through town beginning on Poplar Street and heading east on Third Avenue. Continuing south on Hickory Street, the parade will turn east onto Pennsylvania Avenue before making its final turn north onto Liberty Street. All along the route will be the familiar red kettles of the Salvation Army where those in attendance are encouraged to make a donation.
For over 75 years, the Salvation Army has run its annual kettle campaign over the Christmas holiday to aid in funding relief for the community for the following calendar year.
"The emphasis this year is on giving to the Salvation Army," said Ristau. "We thought to ourselves, 'How can we one-up last year?'"
One of these ideas is a donation station, which will be located near Toriella's Treats on Pennsylvania Avenue where food, toys, and clothing will be collected during the Christmas Walk. While all donations are welcome, the need for non-perishable food items remains a high priority.
Not only will the spirit of giving be amplified, but Santa's arrival will also be something to watch for, hinted Wally Post, chairman of the Christmas Parade.
The Salvation Army board is also preparing different things for during the course of the Christmas Walk, including a float. Following the parade, there will be a children's production at Struthers Library Theatre featuring the Allegheny Regional Theater Experience and the Youth Connection directed by Jennifer Koebley.
There is still time to register for the Friday, Dec. 7 Red Kettle Parade and Christmas Walk, which begin at 6 p.m. Interested vendors or those wanting to be a part of the parade should visit www.wpams.org for more information. Anyone wanting to donate to the Salvation Army can do so at any time at one of their service centers located in Warren, Sheffield, Sugar Grove or Youngsville. Any questions about donating can be directed to the Salvation Army of Warren at 723-8950.