Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to turnout for the 33rd Annual Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival on Saturday.
“Being able to bring this tradition to our community members and our visitors, literally from all over the United States is just heartwarming. To be able to see the smiles on their faces, and see the families gathering, I can’t even describe it. It’s surreal to me. I think what I’m looking forward to the most is being able to see those smiles, see those families and see our downtown. Literally, it’s like a Hallmark movie,” said Angie Smith, executive director at the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce.
She said the purpose of the parade since the beginning has been to bring people together, kick off the holidays, and share the tradition with each other.
The free, family-friendly event always takes place the first Saturday of December. Around 72 carriages have already signed up to participate in the festivities this year. What makes the event unique is the parade is made up of horses, carriages and wagons or carts. There are no riders on horseback or motorized vehicles.
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, lighted evening parade. Each parade will feature decorated carriages pulled by Clydesdales, Belgians, miniatures and show horses. Many of the drivers are also dressed in costume. Some carriages have six-horse hitches, others have four-horse hitches, and many have two, three or single horses.
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 Columbus Avenue or Warren Street (it’s both names or Ohio State Route 42) and turns left, then it goes back to Broadway and back up to Oakwood.
Broadway will be closed from Silver to Main and Mulberry will be closed from Sycamore to Cherry Street throughout the duration of the festival and parades. Other major roads will be closed 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after each parade.
Food and a variety of vendors will line Mulberry Street from Broadway to Cherry and on Mechanic Street. In addition to the vendors, attendees can also visit the many boutique and specialty shops in downtown.
In between the parades, entertainment will include live performances from bigger, local artists this year as well as dance teams and high school drum lines on the main stage at the intersection of Mulberry and Broadway Streets.
Children will enjoy pictures with Santa at Bicentennial Park from 10:30 a.m. to noon and 4 to 6 p.m. Talbert House will have a Kid’s Zone set up with activities for children while they are waiting in line for photos with Santa. (Guests should bring their own cameras.)
Other attractions in town will be open including train rides on Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad’s North Pole Express, and the historic Glendower Mansion will decorated and will be open for group tours of 10 or more for Christmas at Glendower.
Advance reservations are required by calling (513) 932-1817 or by visiting www.wchsmuseum.org/glendower.
How to go
What: 33th Annual Lebanon Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival
When: Festival runs 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Two parades will be 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. Rain or shine event.
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