The holiday spirit will be alive in Highland County this weekend with the annual Leesburg Luminaria Night on Sunday preceded by the HUBA Christmas Parade in Hillsboro on Saturday evening and an Ugly Christmas Sweater Run/Walk that morning.
The Leesburg event is back for the 29th consecutive year and will begin at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 10.
The event is organized by the Leesburg Lions Club and secretary Jay Newland said a new feature this year will be a community sing-along from 6-7 p.m. with holiday tunes by local musician Sean Poole. It will be held in the center of the village and Newland said Poole will also be taking holiday requests.
The first Luminaria Night was held in the village on the same date in 1988, with snowflakes falling softly to cover the sidewalks and rooftops. There could be snow around this year, too, with the National Weather Service calling for up to 1.5 inches during the day and overnight Saturday.
One of the features of the Leesburg event is luminary bags set up in front of businesses and homes. The luminaria candle kits – 20 candles and 20 bags – will be available at Square One Heating and Cooling for $8. Pick-up times are 4-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. Sand will be available for those with containers.
Downtown businesses will host open houses on Sunday offering popcorn, candy, cookies, hot chocolate, coffee, juices and peanuts, Newland said. She said the Lions Club will be asking those attending the event to vote for the business theme they like the best, and that the business will be recognized at a future club meeting.
Santa Claus will arrive at Square One at 6 p.m. and Newland said children will be able to give him their Christmas lists and receive candy. A royal court will be crowned, and the evening will end with a community service at 8 p.m. at the Leesburg United Methodist Church.
At 5:45 p.m. the winners of a sixth grade luminaria essay contest will be recognized at the Leesburg Branch Library and they will read their essays at the community service.
There will also be luminaria decoration contests. There will be separate contests for homes within the village and homes outside the village, including the Highland area. The winners of the those contests receive $50 each. There will also be a “street winner” and those in the block using luminaria in their displays will receive free kits for next year.
Throughout the evening there will be free rides on wagons pulled by tractors donated by area businesses.
“We feel like it’s a time for the community to get out, visit amongst themselves and the businesses, and see the lights,” Newland said. “It’s a time when we can bring folks together from the village and surrounding communities.”
For more information contact any Leesburg Lions Club member or call 937-780-6204 or 937-661-5984.
The Hillsboro Uptown Business Association Christmas Parade will be held Dec. 9 and will start at 6 p.m. It will originate from the Highland County Fairgrounds and is expected to arrive in the uptown area around 6:20 p.m.
All parade units should be in the staging area by 4 p.m. to be judged. Driving units should stage at the Highland County Fairgrounds, where the gates will open at 11 a.m. Walking and marching units should be at the lower parking lot on the old high school campus by 5 p.m.
At 10 a.m. on the day of the Hillsboro parade, HUBA will host an Ugly Christmas Sweater Run/Walk. Visit HUBA’s Facebook page for more information.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or [email protected].