For the fifth year, dozens of horses in their holiday best will star in the Holiday Horse Parade, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29. “Silver & Gold” is this year’s theme for the parade that will carry Santa from the corner of Scioto Street and Patrick Avenue to Monument Square, where he will lead children with wish lists to Santa Land, located in Oxner’s General Store, 15 Monument Square, in the southeast quadrant of the Square.
After Santa is dropped off, the parade of horses will travel around the roundabout and head back to Patrick Avenue, so parade and horse lovers can view the spectacle of decorated horses, wagons and carriages twice.
“Keep in mind that the parade is not over until the horses circle the monument and return to (Patrick Avenue), so we ask that people remain in place until the horses return,” said Vicki Deere-Bunnell, president of the Monument Square District, which is sponsoring the parade and other downtown holiday activities that day.
Drivers are asked not to drive on Scioto Street or pull out onto the street until the parade makes its return.
There will be no parking on Scioto Street and Monument Square from 2 to 8 p.m. on parade day.
Downtown festivities start earlier that day, with shops starting to open at 10 a.m. and food and non-food vendors offering their goods on Monument Square and Scioto Street at 3 p.m.
Some downtown businesses will have children’s activities and refreshments starting at 3 p.m. Need to get warm? Drop by Security National Bank at 5:15 p.m. for hot chocolate. Also at that time, State Farm Insurance (Ron Burns) will offer cider and cookies on Scioto Street. And Peoples Savings Bank will have cookies at 5:30 p.m.
Carriage rides, offered courtesy of Peoples Savings Bank and Security National Bank, will be available from 5 to 5:45 p.m. and for about 30 minutes after the horse parade. Board the horse-drawn carriage at the side of Security National Bank.
Leading up to the lighting of the 15-foot Christmas tree at Legacy Park (southeast quadrant of the Square) will be a community sing-along of favorite carols organized by Tina Blakeman of Vintage Traveler, 107 Scioto St. Drop by her shop to pick up sheet music and info about where carolers will gather to sing.
The “great big community carol sing,” as Deere-Bunnell describes it, starts at 4:30 p.m. Eventually, carolers from their various downtown locations will head toward Legacy Park for the 5:30 p.m. Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Ride to Town with Santa Contest
Then, at 6:30 p.m., it’s time for the Holiday Horse Parade, which last year had more than 60 entries. Deere-Bunnell said this year’s parade will include honorees Marilyn Leopard and Tia and Randy Leopard, recognizing the many years of the family’s Mumford’s Potato Chips in Urbana.
Also in the parade will be five lucky youngsters chosen from the Ride to Town with Santa Contest. Enter children 12 years old and younger to ride with Santa in a horse-drawn wagon in the parade. Use the form on the Monument Square District’s website or Facebook page or send the child’s name and age and your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4:30 p.m. Nov. 25. Each child must be accompanied by an adult during the ride. Winners will be called and will be announced on Facebook by 4:30 p.m. Nov. 26.
Children riding with Santa will accompany him when he hops down from the wagon at the roundabout. The parade will continue around the roundabout and head back to Patrick Avenue, and Santa and his young guests will head to Santa Land at Oxner’s General Store. These children will be the first to tell Santa what they want for Christmas and have their pictures taken with Santa. Then, all children are invited to talk to Santa and give him their wish lists.
Santa Land at Oxner’s General Store
Santa will be ready to hear children’s wishes from 5 to 8 p.m. on Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays from Friday, Dec. 6, through Saturday, Dec. 21.
Registering horses for parade
The Monument Square District asks that horse-drawn carriages, wagons, buggies, etc. (nothing motorized) be registered by Nov. 27 by visiting urbanaonthesquare.com/events/Holiday Horse Parade. For more info, contact Pam Moore at email@example.com or 937-215-4887. Prior to the parade, horses and their people will gather in the parking lot behind Taco Bell, off Jefferson Avenue.
“We ask for pre-registration due to limited parking, but we accept late entries,” Deere-Bunnell said.
She added that she appreciates Monument Square District board members and others who help make this festive annual affair possible.
Kathy Fox can be reached at 937-652-1331, ext. 1773.