This little town outside of Dayton will turn into the north pole for one day only

Santa and Mrs. Claus wave from their carriage as they ride in the Lebanon Carriage Parade. FILE PHOTO

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Santa and Mrs. Claus wave from their carriage as they ride in the Lebanon Carriage Parade. FILE PHOTO

Close to 70,000 spectators are expected to turn out for the 29th Annual Lebanon Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival this year.

“It started out with one parade in the evening, and it began with 13 horses and carriages, and ever since then, we’ve made it so we have horses, carriages and wagons, but no riders on horseback. So, that’s what makes us unique. We’re an all-carriage, wagon and cart parade,” said Joe Wilson, one of the parade’s longtime organizers and stage announcers.

The 29th Annual Lebanon Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival will be held on Saturday, Dec. 2, with an all-day festival from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and two parades in historic downtown Lebanon at 1 and 7 p.m.

The free, family-friendly event always takes place the first Saturday of December. Up to 124 carriages have been part of the event in the past.

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Lebanon s annual holiday celebration will be held on Saturday, December 2 with two carriage parades and a festival. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the parades will take place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. CONTRIBUTED

Lebanon s annual holiday celebration will be held on Saturday, December 2 with two carriage parades and a festival. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the parades will take place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. CONTRIBUTED

Combined ShapeCaption
Lebanon s annual holiday celebration will be held on Saturday, December 2 with two carriage parades and a festival. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the parades will take place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. CONTRIBUTED

PARADE IN A CLASS OF ITS OWN

“This has become the No. 1 all-carriage parade in this part of the United States. As far as I know, there’s not another one even close to our size that is made up of all carriages. It’s a very festive parade,” said Wilson, who is also a past board member and a former chairman of the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce.

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DAY-LONG CELEBRATION

The Christmas Festival will begin at 10 a.m. with food, craft vendors and live entertainment throughout the day.

Presented by the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Lebanon, highlights of the event are the 1 p.m. afternoon carriage parade and the 7 p.m. candlelit evening parade. Each parade will feature over 100 decorated carriages pulled by Clydesdales, Belgians, miniatures and show horses. Many of the drivers are also dressed in costume. Altogether, there are between 250 and 300 horses in the parade.

“At night, the carriages and everything are decorated with lights on them. And, we’ll have the Grinch, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. We have several different characters that are dressed up. The horses are all dressed up. Some of them even have lights that go down the legs of their horses,” Wilson said.

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Parade watchers watch the Lebanon Carriage Parade from the balcony of The Golden Lamb, Ohio’s Oldest Hotel. The annual parade features horse-drawn carriages through downtown Lebanon. CONTRIBUTED

Parade watchers watch the Lebanon Carriage Parade from the balcony of The Golden Lamb, Ohio’s Oldest Hotel. The annual parade features horse-drawn carriages through downtown Lebanon. CONTRIBUTED

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Parade watchers watch the Lebanon Carriage Parade from the balcony of The Golden Lamb, Ohio’s Oldest Hotel. The annual parade features horse-drawn carriages through downtown Lebanon. CONTRIBUTED

Each parade will last about an hour. The two-and-a-half to three-mile parade route circles throughout the downtown Lebanon central business district. The parade kicks off at the corner of Broadway and Oakwood in front of Berry Intermediate School, and it goes South on Broadway to Main Street, in front of the Golden Lamb, it turns left and then it goes up to Cherry Street going east. Then, it takes a left on Cherry Street and goes North again to Ohio 42 and turns left, then it goes back to Broadway and back up to Oakwood.

CARRIAGE RIDES, TRAIN RIDES AND MORE

In between the parades, entertainment will include live performances on the main stage on Broadway Street, storytelling at the Harmon Museum, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, free carriage rides boarding in front of the Golden Lamb, train rides on the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad’s North Pole Express, a live nativity at the Lebanon Presbyterian Church, and the historic Glendower Mansion will be open for tours. Attendees can also visit the many boutique and specialty shops, watch a blacksmith demonstration, and visit the food and craft vendors along Mulberry Street.

Carriage drivers come from the Lebanon area as well as throughout Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, and more to be a part of the historic, grand parade.

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WANT TO GO?

What: 29th Annual Lebanon Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival

When: Festival runs 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, December 2. Two parades will be held at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Where: Downtown Lebanon

Cost: Free admission and parking. Family-friendly event.

More info: www.LebanonChamber.org or at (513) 932-1100. Also, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lebanoncarriageparade

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