By Haylee Pence
PIQUA – On Friday, Dec. 4, Mainstreet Piqua hosted their annual event Christmas on the Green to kick off the holiday season with festive activities and music.
To start the event, Christian Academy School’s “Voices Eternal” performed some holiday music. Following that, Daniel P. French from the Alfred W. French Fund of the Piqua Community Foundation welcomed everyone.
Christmas on the Green was inspired by the French family’s tradition of neighborhood Christmas caroling, which was a “good neighborhood” experience that French spoke about. The caroling helped the family and everyone involved “get into the Christmas spirit.”
French thanked those involved in hosting Christmas on the Green, specifically those with Mainstreet Piqua and all of the volunteers that night. He said, “They work hard to make it more fun, special, and unusual.”
French also thanked all of our service members and their families stating, “we have the freedom to celebrate.” He went on to include first responders, specifically those in Piqua.
Following French’s welcome speech, the Piqua High School Show Choir “The Company” performed their holiday special, which featured songs like “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Mary Did You Know.” Their director, Tom Westfall, provided updates on the show choir’s accomplishments and upcoming events. “The Company” was recently named Grand Champion in the finals at the Ada Music Feast in November.
Westfall ended his speech with this, “No matter what kind of day, week, month, or year you’ve had, hearing them sing ‘Mary Did You Know’ and other Christmas music just warms your heart.” Westfall then led the choir and audience members in the community caroling portion of the event. The community caroling is a memory to the late Marjorie Phelps French, who passed away in 1991, and her husband, Alfred French, who passed away the following year.
The Piqua Public Library’s Children’s Department hosted children’s activities in the bottom floor of the library. New Director of the Children’s department, Holly Johnson, stated that “about 150 kids” had visited them so far, an hour into the event with two more hours to go. They offered four different activities, which children could take home. Then after visiting all four stations, the children could receive a free holiday book. Johnson has “big plans” for the Children’s Department’s activities next year, stating that “older kids would have more fun.”
In the lobby of the library, children could visit Santa Claus and get their pictures taken.
Live Reindeer returned this year, and children of all ages enjoyed seeing them. Along with the reindeer, $1 carriage rides returned, and so did the trackless train, both of which were very popular among children and eager adults. The Gotham City Brass Quintet gave an excellent performance of a multitude of songs throughout the event and had gathered quite a crowd. There was also a live ice sculpting demonstration available to watch.
The two newest attractions included performances from juggling elves and fire dancers. The juggling elves rode a unicycle throughout the event and performed for those waiting in lines or just passing by. The elves interacted with children and took pictures with them. The fire dancers performed near the library. There were four different performers, and each had their own unique performance equipment. They danced to upbeat Christmas music, and many people stopped to watch them, including many children.
The next day, Saturday Dec. 5, the holiday parade was put on with multiple holiday-themed floats. Families gathered around the streets of Piqua to watch the parade proceed.
Overall, the Christmas on the Green event and the holiday parade saw a large number of attendees and sparked the beginning of the holiday season in Piqua.