GREENVILLE — Diana Stebbins’ first experience riding horses came when she was about 18 months old. Sure, it was a rocking horse … but with her pony tails flying and the smile on her face it was evident Stebbins’ was a natural with horses. Stebbins helped turn that love of horses into one of the state’s best parades. For that, Stebbins was honored by the Darke County Visitors Bureau with the Tourism Citizen of the Year award.
Stebbins was presented her award from Greg Billing, executive director of the DCVB and Main Street Greenville, at the Darke County Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting at Greenville City Park.
This year’s Hometown Holiday Horse Parade, schedule for Nov. 19 in downtown Greenville, marks the 19th annual event. It also marks the 12th for Stebbins as the parade chairperson after taking over in 2011. The event has been named the state’s best parade by Ohio Magazine in 2014, 2015, 2019 and 2020. Last year’s parade had 127 entrants, which is close a record if not the record.
“I don’t do it by myself,” Stebbins said. “If it wasn’t for my parents teaching me to give back to my community and making me the person I am now, and all the volunteers who unselfishly help every year doing what they can. “All of the people who ride and participate in the parade, without them and their horses and their beautiful hitches and even the riders, we wouldn’t have anything. Thank you everybody!”
The Tourism Citizen of the Year award honors a member of the Darke County community that works in a business or volunteers in a group that brings people to the community to enjoy events, attractions, shops, accommodations and other aspects of the tourism industry. The nominee demonstrates extensive and diverse participation, leadership and support in public and/or private tourism endeavors over a period of years. The nominee is a leader capable of getting others involved in tourism within the community. Above all, the nominee is a person who looks first at what they can do for Darke County and tourism within Darke County.
“Diana’s leadership and countless hours dedicated to the Hometown Holiday Horse Parade has made it a must-see event in the Miami Valley and beyond,” Billing said. “The parade is a wonderful family event that brings thousands of people to downtown Greenville and to Darke County. The Darke County Visitors Bureau appreciates Diana’s efforts and is thrilled to honor her in this way.”