PIQUA — Christmas on the Green returned to downtown Piqua with festive characters, Christmas carols, and holiday fun for the family on Friday.
The evening kicked off with horse-drawn carriage rides, train rides, holiday music from the Gotham City Brass Quintet, a live sculpture demonstration, and more down Main Street in Piqua. Children’s activities were held throughout the evening inside the Piqua Public Library and the Mainstreet Piqua offices. A highlight of the event was a live performance by the Piqua High School show choir “The Company,” along with community caroling, each held at the gazebo.
“Beautiful weather has really helped,” Executive Director Lorna Swisher of Mainstreet Piqua said about the large turnout for the event. “The carriage rides are always very, very popular.” Swisher said the live reindeer — an addition to Christmas on the Green’s annual array of attractions last year — was also a big hit.
The annual Christmas on the Green event was sponsored by the French Fund of the Piqua Community Foundation and Premier Health/Upper Valley Medical Centers.
“The French family is thrilled to be able to do this for the 28th time, in conjunction with Mainstreet Piqua,” said Dan French of the French Fund and Chairman and CEO of French Oil Mill Machinery Company. French said they loved the community caroling, which was a tradition his family organized on Park Avenue for a number of years that later led to the annual “Caroling on the Square” event in 1991 and has since morphed into the heart of Mainstreet Piqua’s Christmas on the Green.
“It was a nice tradition,” Dan French said.
“Mainstreet has done a fabulous job,” Margaret French, his wife and a past organizer for the event, said about Christmas on the Green. “It’s grown into a beautiful event.”
A number of downtown businesses also offered extended hours for event goers on Friday evening, including at Dugan’s Pawn Shop at 414 N. Main Street. Teresa Arp — who owns the business with her husband and son — along with employees like Tom Garrity were decked out in holiday costumes while passing out free candy.
“I spend almost all year looking for the right candy, the right costume,” said Arp, who was dressed up as Bumble, the abominable snowman on “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” They also had costumed characters from “Elf” and “Elf on the Shelf.”
Arp, who also teaches at Piqua City Schools, said her favorite part about Christmas on the Green was the kids.
“The kids’ faces. That’s why we do it,” Arp said, adding that adults also get into the holiday spirit with them, too. Garrity said last year over 80 adults wanted pictures with them.
Over at the Piqua Public Library, the 17-foot tall Christmas tree lit up the lobby.
“The tree’s full of little animals,” Director Jim Oda of the Piqua Public Library said, noting the decorations, which included a owl tree topper, went along with the library’s theme of “Christmas Creatures from Around the World.” The lobby also featured six-foot-tall toy soldiers, a special horse figure, and more holiday-themed displays. Oda said the horse figure, which was positioned behind the large tree, was most likely once a non-moving part of a carousel from France.
Downstairs, families filled the library’s children’s center with a number of activities for festive fun.
“We have an elf scavenger hunt,” librarian Sarah Johnson said, adding they also had gingerbread cookie decorating stations, face-painting, dice games, bowling, and more. Children also got a visit from Santa at the library following the community caroling.
Still to come on Saturday, Dec. 7, the Downtown Holiday Parade will step off from the corner of Main and North streets at 2 p.m. and make its way south on Main Street to High Street and then proceed on High to Downing streets. The theme of the Holiday Parade this year will be “White Christmas,” and there will be over 30 different organizations participating in the parade. Immediately following the parade, Santa will be visiting with kids in the lobby of the Fort Piqua Plaza. The downtown Piqua Holiday Parade is sponsored by Mark Reed and Spencer Peltier of Thrivent Financial, Jeanie Jordan-Bates of McVety Realty, Barclay’s Men’s-Women’s Clothiers, Hartzell and T-Mobile.
For more information, visit mainstreetpiqua.com.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2019 Miami Valley Sunday News, all rights reserved.