The anticipation for Santa was palpable at the first-ever Winter on the Plaza. Hundreds were waiting. Was he stuck in traffic? Maybe he could have gotten there sooner — if there were two-way streets, joked Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott.

But when Santa Claus did arrive at the Plaza on Market and climbed down the ladder from the escorting fire truck, the crowd went crazy.

Santa arrives at Winter on the Plaza, thanks to the Wheeling Fire Department.

And, then with Santa’s toss of magic dust, the tree at the Plaza on the Market was ablaze in colorful lights!

A little magic dust, and voila! … the tree twinkles with lights!

Hundreds turned out for the first-ever Winter on the Plaza Wednesday night. The City of Wheeling, RED, AEP, Augusta Levy and Wheeling Heritage joined forces to make this year’s event a reality.

Santa listened to a whole lot of requests last night.

Surrounding businesses stayed open; food trucks were serving; community organizations — the Junior League of Wheeling, Small Business Saturday/RED, the United Way and others — were representing their causes and keeping kids busy with assorted activities. The Wheeling Nailers and mascot Spike offered hot cocoa to kids.

Bells were ringing; strings were playing; vendors were vending; Santa was bringing holiday cheer to town. There was a chill in the air, but a warm holiday feeling all around. It was a community evening, in the truest sense.

Watch the video by Weelunk videographers Dillon Richardson and Johnathon Porter that captures the spirit of the evening. …

Having spent nearly 38 years as reporter, bureau chief, lifestyles editor and managing editor at The Times Leader, and design editor at The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, Phyllis Sigal now serves as Weelunk’s managing editor. She lives in Wheeling with her husband Bruce Wheeler. Along with their two children, son-in-law and two grandchildren, food, wine, travel, theater and music are close to their hearts.

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