Annual horse parade brings holiday magic to downtown

GREENVILLE – This marks the 14th year of the Hometown Holiday Horse Parade. It began with some lighted hitches and riders and has grown to be close to 100 entries each year and was voted Best Parade In Ohio for 2015.

This year’s parade will take place on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.

“This parade is a lot of work but it comes with so many blessings,” says Diana Stebbins chairman of the parade, “the people and relationships that have grown from this are awesome”.

Many people do not realize the amount of effort it takes to put this parade on. Planning begins almost as soon as the parade is done.

“The Hometown Holiday Horse Parade in downtown Greenville was the first of its kind in this area. It is a unique and beautiful way to welcome the holiday season and it has developed to be a cherished tradition. Main Street Greenville is very proud to present this event for our community, and we are incredibly grateful for the partnership of Diana Stebbins as the parade chairman”, says Crysta Hutchinson, Executive Director of Main Street Greenville.

She and Stebbins are the two that bring all of this together. Amber Garrett, past Exec. Dir., did much to help grow this parade with Diana over the past five years. They, the city workers, Ham Radio operators, GPD and volunteers the night of the parade make it happen.

January brings a new year and more challenges sometimes. Greenville’s downtown is a great place for families and is one of few small towns that can still offer the sights of a Norman Rockwell picture.

During the parade, the downtown stores are open and beautifully lit and offer much to shoppers. There are many food vendors that offer hot chocolate and coffee and other items to eat and warm your body. Stroll up and down Broadway and enjoy seeing and hearing the Christmas carolers, from Greenville Middle School, that walk by singing cheery Christmas tunes. Pony rides are available for kids to ride for free at the First Congregational Church.

In the past, some stores have had Elf on the Shelf contests and St. Claire Manor had Santa reading to the children. Romer’s offers a special meal every parade year that gives free parade parking and a great way to stay warm before the parade starts. It is not one, but many that make this parade as great as it is.

“We need to bring the joy of the season and the kindness and goodwill that it bestows on all of us. It is hard to not feel like a kid again when you see the bright lights and hear the Christmas music,” Stebbins added.

As the parade starts the band begins it with a grand marching tune, then the flag bearers that officially open the parade begin. With them you can see the colors and lights on the horses and riders as they walk down Broadway.

Next are the minis with their little legs and big personalities strolling past, they are followed by the brightly lit riders and their horses. The big hitches are next, the ones with the big horses and carriages and wagons that sport brilliantly colored lights. At the end to welcome us all to the season is Santa and Mrs. Claus waving to the kids and adults alike.

“These people that enter in the parade come from all over, some are from out of state and hours away. They come for one reason, fun and excitement. They enjoy working for many hours adorning their horses and hitches with lights and decorations so that everyone can admire what they have done. They do not do it just for themselves, they do it so it brightens our lives. Give them a huge round of applause for the incredibly hard work they do,” concluded Stebbins.

Learn more about the parade at on Faceook at www.facebook.com/events/797346250431170

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