ARCANUM — The village of Arcanum held their first annual Holiday Horse Parade Saturday evening, amid Ohio’s first significant snowfall of the season. Greenville’s Hometown Holiday Horse Parade was cancelled last month due to weather.
When Josh Urlage became president of the Arcanum Business Association, which organized Saturday night’s event, he quickly decided he wanted to do something a little different with the city’s yearly Christmas activities.
“Last year, we put up Christmas lights in the park, and we had a candy cane hunt, and we did the carriage rides,” Urlage said. “We had a lot of different activities that were sort of spread all through the month of December. So this year we got the idea, why don’t we just put it all together and do one big event?”
Urlage and his Vice President, Jason Blackburn, were determined to set themselves apart from their predecessors.
“The Business Association has done the same thing for years and years,” Urlage said. “Jason and I are sort of the new blood, and we decided now was the time to do something different, to get people excited again.”
Response from the community, according to Urlage, was more than encouraging.
“The whole thing really exploded in the last two weeks,” Urlage said. “The response, and the donations, have been amazing. The stars are lining up for us… it’s going to be a great time.”
Saturday’s festivities included an early morning “Breakfast with Santa” at Arcanum High School, numerous vendors selling arts and crafts, food trucks in Arcanum’s Ivester Park, late evening horse-drawn carriage rides, and of course, the titular horse parade.
The parade included more than 28 entries, including a team of six clydesdales brought in from northeastern Ohio.
“We’re super excited about all the events that are going on,” Urlage said. “You could really spend your whole day here in Arcanum. This is really a big, free event that you can bring the whole family to.”
Post-event response has been mixed, with some attendees on the parade’s Facebook page citing lack of organization and traffic control, while others were upset about poor road conditions and felt the event should have been held earlier, to help with participants’ commute.
Urlage, however, remained enthusiastic about the event.
“I think it went extremely well,” Urlage said. “I’m so incredibly enthused about the crowd we gathered. I was riding behind Santa Claus in the parade, and I couldn’t believe the number of people who were out, and the kids shouting at Santa.”
Ultimately, in spite of the weather, Urlage had only positive things to say about the experience.
“It definitely snowed a little more than any of us were expecting,” Urlage said, “but it was still kind of neat. It created a good atmosphere for Christmas, and made the whole thing feel very festive.”