The city of Lebanon’s most beloved holiday tradition is taking place this weekend. Approximately 60,000 to 70,000 spectators are expected to gather in downtown Lebanon on Saturday, Dec. 7, for the 31st Annual Lebanon Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival.
The original Christmas Festival committee members, who shared the vision of starting the annual Carriage Parade, included Steve Foster, Sheila Denny, Gayle Froelich, Pat Arnold South, Sylvia Thompson Outland and Emmor Baily.
WHY IT’S SPECIAL
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.
In fact, Lebanon’s horse-drawn carriage parade is unique in the fact that it is one of only a few in the entire country. In the entire Midwest, the Lebanon Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival is the only exclusively horse-drawn carriage parade of its size.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The festivities will include live entertainment, food and craft vendors along Mulberry and Mechanic Streets from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and two parades in historic downtown Lebanon at 1 and 7 p.m.
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.
The parade and festival is presented by the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Lebanon, with local celebrities Frank Marzullo from the Fox 19 Morning News, Tim Anderson, lead singer of The Naked Karate Girls, and Savannah Shafer, communications professional and president of UptownPR in Lebanon, Ohio.
The Ohio Horseman’s Council is actively involved each year, and the Volunteer Teacher’s Association from Lebanon Schools provides food and beverages for the parade participants.
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.
In between the parades, entertainment will include live performances on the main stage on Broadway Street, train rides on the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad’s North Pole Express and pictures with Santa from 10:30 a.m. to noon and 4-6 p.m. There will be a Living Nativity scene from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lebanon Presbyterian Church, and the historic Glendower Mansion will be open for Christmas from noon to 4 p.m. Lebanon author Beth Gully will be present for a reading and book signing at the Golden Lamb Gazebo from 11 a.m. to noon and 5-6 p.m.
Attendees can also visit the many boutique and specialty shops.