It has been 27 years since a December night in 1988 when the the first Leesburg Luminaria was held. The tradition will be revived Sunday, Dec. 13 when the 27th event unfolds.
“It was a beautiful evening with snowflakes falling softly to cover the sidewalks and rooftops. The town was alight with the glow of candles shining through white luminaria bags,” said Kathy Huff of the first event. “Every year since then the Leesburg Lions Club has sponsored this tradition. The Leesburg community businesses, churches, and villagers place candles in white bags to light the streets to welcome the Christmas season.”
Once again, downtown businesses will be open with treats to share, Santa Claus will make a visit to the Friendly Village, a royal court will be crowned, free wagon rides will be available, and the evening will conclude with a community service at the Fairfield schools.
Door hangers with the schedule of events and other information have been passed out to all houses in Leesburg by the Leesburg Cub Scouts.
Luminaria candle kits will be on sale at Square One Heating and Cooling from 4-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. The price is $8 per kit (20 candles/20 bags). Sand is available if you bring a container.
In addition to dressing up the town, the luminarias are used in a home decorating contest. A $50 cash prize will go to the winner. In addition, the street block of houses using the most Luminaria candles will win free Luminaria kits for next year.
For questions or concerns, contact a Leesburg Lions Club member at 937-780-6204, 7611 or 6140.
The evening starts at 5 p.m. with the lighting of the Luminaria. The businesses will observe open houses from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the crowning of the king and queen at the Leesburg Branch Library will be at 5:45 p.m., Santa Claus will be at Square One from 5:30 to 7 p.m., wagon rides will be available from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and the community Christmas service begins at 8 p.m.
The following businesses and organizations will host open houses: American Legion Post 568, Batter up Bakery, Crossroads Diner, Dollar General, Leesburg Branch Library, Leesburg United Methodist Church, Leesburg Post Office, Mane Street Salon, Saucy Sisters Pizza, Southern Hills Community Bank, Square One Heating and Cooling, and the Lions Warming Station, where there will be an old-fashioned flea market.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.