EATON — The holiday season is officially in full swing, with Eaton’s White Christmas celebration welcoming Santa to Preble County this past weekend. The downtown celebration, held the day after Thanksgiving on Friday, Nov. 24, saw the lighting of the Preble County courthouse tree lights, bringing the county into the holiday spirit.
Following the celebration downtown, Whispering Christmas — the annual holiday light show at Fort St. Clair — was officially opened for the season.
Downtown Eaton Inc. (DEI) is in charge of the White Christmas celebration. Every year the community comes together to hear the Community Chorus and Eaton first graders sing Christmas carols. The Eaton High School band also performs, and bikes are given away to a boy and girl.
According to DEI Vice-President Ron Baker, this year’s was actually the 25th annual White Christmas celebration.
“There is a little parade that starts a couple blocks away and they bring Santa in on the old fire truck. Then the Community Chorus and Eaton first graders perform. They do a few songs and we have a bike give away. The Eaton High School Band also performs,” he said.
Treasurer Megan Lutz said the celebration is important, because it draws attention to the community.
“We need to keep people involved, that is how communities like this strive,” she said.
Baker added, “It also brings all the parents downtown. Maybe they’ll see a business they haven’t seen and they will try it. Then they might come downtown more often. Anything to keep the downtown going.”
The organization lucked out this year with weather. While it got chilly as the night went on, there was no snow and it stayed above freezing, which hasn’t always been the case for White Christmas. However, the weather doesn’t normally keep many away from the winter-themed festival.
“Two years ago the celebration was canceled, because we were supposed to have horrible weather. Last year, it was cold, but there were a ton of people here. I want to say that there were 70 kids that showed up to sing. This year might beat it,” Lutz said.
Onlookers are all told to stay on the other side of Main Street until Santa makes his appearance. At that point, the very large crowd rushes across the street to listen to the many performances. There is a stage set up where the bike give-away was held.
“We want to thank Ron Roth and Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. for the bikes. We also want to thank the Preble County Courthouse, the courthouse and city maintenance department, the police department, the school’s maintenance department, and the community for coming out,” Lutz added.
“We can always use volunteers for all of our events. We have a Facebook so they can go online and see what we have,” Baker said.
Reach Kelsey Kimbelr at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH