Lebanon's 33rd Horse & Carriage parade

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(Photo by Hailey Cordy) Lebanon Chamber of Commerce Director Angie Smith and parade coordinator Adam Bray.

LEBANON, OH -- During the holiday season, many celebratory events are held throughout the month of December in order to get into that holiday spirit. One of Warren County's main events that ushers in the holiday spirit is the Lebanon Horse & Carriage Parade. 

Held the first Saturday in December, this year's parade marked its 33rd anniversary. And there isn't just one parade there are two. The daylight parade at 1 pm and the evening parade at 7pm where the carriages, horses and even some people are decorated with lights.

Before, between and after the 1 pm and 7 pm parades, there was a variety of different food and merchandise tents to walk around and visit in the downtown area.

There were also many performances throughout the evening on Mullberry Street, such as the Lebanon High School’s Winter Drumline. They played a few of their traditional cadences, which came with dances that really helped get the crowd into the holiday spirit. There were other performances from local people performing variations of Christmas songs. 

As the 1 pm parade began, the parade route was crowded with families and friends to see the horses and their decorative carriages. There were many different types of Christmas characters driving the carriages bringing lots of holiday spirit. Even many of the horses were dressed with things like bells, tiny hats or shoes.  

To get the 'behind the scenes' action, Chamber of Commerce Director Angie Smith and the parade coordinator Adam Bray explained the tasks it takes to keep everything calm and prepared.

The beginning of the parade is at Berry Intermediate School. All the horses and carriages are set up and taken care of there until the parade time. This parade is always organized and kept up to ensure the first horse steps off at 1 PM for the day parade and 7 PM for he evening parade

The people in this parade are very committed to it arriving very early in the morning.

"We have staging areas back behind Berry by where the bus garage is and they get there around six o'clock in the morning, which is when some of the first ones will start to show up, and they don't leave till nine or ten o'clock at night," said Bray.

 The people bringing the horses and carriages are amazing, especially for getting up that early. Sometimes there will be difficulties with the horses... because they're animals and have a mind of their own. So obviously, there will be issues at times.

When asked about the parade's future, Smith said, "We don't really want to change the tradition of just horses and carriages, so five years down the road, will the parade look different? I don't think so. We hope it's still the same, if not bigger.  But, it will always be a horse-drawn carriage parade." 

To go along with all the hard work and dedication is the amazing fact that nobody at this parade is paid to be there; everyone  is just volunteering their time, and many of the volunteers are students getting their volunteer hours.

Finishing its 33rd year, the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce Horse and Carriage Parade is very well organized and a very fun holiday tradition made possible due to the dedication of many people.

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