On Sunday Dec. 8, the Leesburg Lions Club will host the 25th annual Luminaria, which will begin at 5 p.m. with the lighting of the luminaries along the town’s sidewalks.
These luminaries, a yearly tradition in the village of Leesburg, will light the way for the various festivities to be held that night, including the presentation of the Luminaria King and Queen, a home decorating contest, wagon rides, a place to meet Santa, and open houses for Leesburg businesses.
The king and queen presentation will be at 5:45 p.m. at the Leesburg Public Library. The event’s royalty will be selected from candidates from Fairfield Local sixth grades classes who have submitted entries to an essay contest entitled “What the Luminaria Means to Me.”
The home decorating contest is open to all residents in the Fairfield School system. The only requirement is that Lions Luminaries must be used as a part of the decoration.
If individuals live outside the villages of Leesburg or Highland and wish to enter the contest, they can call 937-780-6140, or 937-780-7611.
The judge of the contest will be a Lions Club district officer. Two winners will be selected, and they will each receive a $50 prize.
Additionally, as a way to view the many luminaries and decorations throughout town, wagon rides will be available. The wagons will be running from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. The pick-up and drop-off point for the rides will be Square One Heating & Cooling in downtown Leesburg.
Santa will also be at Square One Heating & Cooling from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m.
During those same hours, numerous Leesburg businesses will be holding open houses for the public. Those participating are the American Legion Post 568, Crossroads Diner, Dollar General, Saucy Sisters Pizza, Hickory & Plaid, Batter Up Bakery, Kay Simmons Insurance, Southern Hills Community Bank, Leesburg Branch Library, Leesburg Market & Meats, Leesburg Post Office, Leesburg United Methodist Church, Leesburg Flea Market, Mane Street Salon, and Square One Heating & Cooling.
The Luminaria will conclude with a Community Christmas Service at the Walnut Hills Church of Christ in Christian Union on Barger Road at 7:30 p.m.
Leading up the event, the Leesburg Lions Club will be selling Luminaria kits. Order forms for kits can be found at local churches and businesses. Each kit costs $8.
The kits can be picked up at Square One Heating & Cooling on Friday, Dec. 6 between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., and on Saturday, Dec. 7 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. For more information, or to ask questions about the Luminaria, call 937-780-6140, or 937-780-7611.
The annual Luminaria event is one which, according to Ann Smithson of Saucy Sisters, inspires a “holiday spirit frame of mind.” Therefore, Saucy Sisters, Mane Street Salon, and Batter Up Bakery decided the Luminaria would be an ideal donation event.
This will be the first year for those three businesses, Smithson said, to partner in an effort to collect donations for families in need. Some of the items that can be donated include: food, toiletries, and unwrapped toys to be used as Christmas presents. All donations will be given to the community center.
Individuals, however, can begin donating as early as Monday, Dec. 2 and as late as Wednesday, Dec. 18.
Those who donate either before or during the Luminaria will receive an entry for prizes that each business is offering. In exchange for the donation, individuals will be entered for the following prizes:
- A gift basket from Saucy Sisters; - A gift basket from Batter Up Bakery;
- $5 off a color service from Mane Street Salon. Like many other local businesses, Saucy Sisters, Batter Up Bakery, and Main Street Salon will be hosting open houses during the Luminaria. Along with accepting donations, the businesses will also be offering treats, such as cider.
“A whole lot of different stuff is going on that night,” Smithson said.
According to Smithson, the three businesses decided to come together to collect donations because they saw a need in the community. “With the economy the way it is, and with being a small community, we want to help out,” she said.
The Luminaria, Smithson added, is an event that draws numerous people to the village.
“There’s a lot of people who come here,” she said. “It’s a big thing for Leesburg.”