Holiday season kicks off with parade and tree lighting


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — Even a cold, blustery evening couldn’t keep people away from a wonderful evening in downtown Greenville on Saturday night. The Hometown Holiday Horse Parade, coupled with the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree and all of the beautiful lights put in place by the Greenville Street Department signaled the start of the holiday season. A few flurries that weren’t in the forecast added to the festive atmosphere.

Although the high winds nearly put a stop to the parade, it went on as planned with hundreds of people braving the cold to see the horses, their riders and passengers. From the small miniatures to the large work horses, there was something for everyone to see. Leading the parade down Broadway this year was retiring Darke County Health Commissioner Dr. Terrence Holman. Also, in the spotlight at this year’s parade was retiring Darke County Parks Director Roger Van Frank.

Diana Stebbins, coordinator of the parade, was pleased with how the parade went. She said, “I heard nothing but good comments from both entries and spectators.” There were over 120 units in this year’s parade.

She was worried earlier in the day about the possibility of canceling the event. “It is a huge responsibility to decide if I need to call if off and they were not predicting the snow flurries. Fortunately, they were only flurries and most everyone said it added to the atmosphere for the parade.”

Stebbins was pleased with turnout, “I am extremely grateful to the entries who braved the cold and snow and the spectators who came out to watch us. Words are not enough to express my gratitude. Thank you to everyone for making this parade so wonderful.”

Following the parade, Eric Fee, of Tribute Funeral Home, led the festivities for what has become an annual event – the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree. This year’s tree was donated by Randall Bowman and dedicated in memory of Dianne Brown.

Dianne, who passed away in March 2021, was part of a duo who in some circles were known as Mr. and Mrs. Greenville. She and her husband, Dick, were huge supporters of the community and even if you don’t know their names, you have been touched by their giving or may have even seen their Christmas lights on Requarth Road outside of Greenville. Fee said, “One of her passions was the elaborate Christmas decorations seen by thousands of people over the last 30 years. The Browns opened up their house to the public all of these Christmas seasons and the tradition continues this year without her. GHS (Greenville High School) students have volunteered to help again this year with the candy cane distribution. Many community members have helped make this a success for the whole community and fun entertainment for all.”

Fee continued, “Although Dianne was not from Greenville and never lived here until after her college days, she always considered Greenville as her home, and always wanted the community to succeed. She will be missed by many who knew her and her positive influence on the Greenville community will not be forgotten.”

Be sure to visit downtown Greenville during the holidays and see one of the best light displays presented by a community. From the Municipal Building and Traffic Circle to the YOLO and Annie Oakley Parks there is a lot to see, and the Greenville Street Department should be commended for their efforts.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected]

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