EATON — The community came together on Friday, Nov. 29, to help Santa light up Downtown Eaton at the 31st annual White Christmas event.
This event serves as the official lighting of Downtown Eaton and ushers in Whispering Christmas at Fort St. Clair. In addition to the lighting, there is entertainment from Bruce Elementary second graders, and Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Peppermint were present to visit with the children.
The event is organized by Downtown Eaton Inc. and continues to grow every year.
According to Downtown Eaton Inc. Treasurer Elaine Baker, the event began 31 years ago to kick off Whispering Christmas. This is a tradition which has stayed in place over the years. All the lights are turned on downtown and then Whispering Christmas is opened to the public.
“This is a big memory for the second graders — it is something they can participate and see going on. It also kicks off the Christmas season for the community. We want to give back to the community. This is something we can do to keep downtown and Preble County alive,” she said.
The event began with Eaton Police escorting the high school band, Eaton Community Schools second graders, and Santa, Peppermint, and Mrs. Claus to the courthouse in a mini-parade. The second grade students performed several songs, followed by the band. Pastor Rick Gutheil spoke and the courthouse lights were turned on. Two bikes were also donated by Vancrest and Ron Roth — one was given to a second grade girl and the other to a second grade boy.
The event was made possible by numerous community sponsors and volunteers.
“Our Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Peppermint love coming here, so they are filled with excitement and that gets everybody going,” Baker said. “You can feel the excitement when you’re around the kids. This is a tradition and hopefully we can pass it down to them so they will do it year, after year, after year.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH