GALION — The Come Home to Galion Christmas celebration was made complete Saturday afternoon with the arrival of Santa Claus in a grand parade that made its way down Harding Way before a cheery tree lighting ceremony on the square.
Hundreds of people lined the street, taking in the sights and sounds of a parade featuring bands, floats and other seasonal highlights.
Miranda Jones, Come Home to Galion event co-coordinator, said there were 32 entries in the parade, about average for the holiday program.
“We’ve topped out at 47 one year, but around 30 is what we typically have,” she said.
Jones was announcing the parade on the square and said there wasn’t a spot to be had as so many people packed the area to catch a glimpse of this annual event.
“It was great,” she said. “The weather was perfect. We couldn’t have asked for better December weather. The sun was shining. It was a little chilly, but there were people everywhere.”
Holly Mogle and her husband Rob live in Galion and took a short walk to take in the Saturday afternoon parade.
“I like the parade,” Holly said. “It’s good way to kick off the holiday season.”
Her favorite entries were the trolley and Santa Claus, of course.
Rob especially liked the entries that were pulled by the horses, “I love my horses,” he said. “Santa was also my favorite. Santa’s my guy.”
“I think it’s important for people to come out to the parade to show their appreciation for what everybody does here in the town of Galion,” Rob said.
“And just for the spirit of Christmas,” Holly added.
Galion resident Cindy Wallis was walking in the parade representing Crawford County Community Counseling and said the organization takes part in many parades this time of the year.
“I liked that the community came out to see the parade and smiles on the kids’ faces,” Wallis said.”That’s the best, when you hand them some candy they smile and say ‘thank you’ it’s so cute.”
Wallis said there were a lot of people lining the streets as she walked the parade route, and that was nice to see.
When asked why it’s important for the community to turn out for events like this, Wallis said, “It’s about the experience and getting together. Everything is so digital today that people don’t get out and enjoy the experiences of the community.
“This is one of those opportunities to do that,” she added. “People weren’t meant to be alone, they were meant to be together. This time of year is hard on a lot of people and I saw a lot of people up there who don’t have immediate family around here, so that was good to see.”
The Come Home to Galion event kicked off Saturday morning with breakfast with Santa, which Jones said” had great numbers. She also said the Reindeer Dash had 50 participants walk or run the streets.
“Numbers were down a little bit from last year, but there were a lot of other things going on county-wide,” shes said.
This was the 12th year of the Come Home to Galion event, having grown each year. Jones said the Galion Ministerial Association started the event and a few years ago a committee was formed and there is a representative for each activity on the committee.
Besides Breakfast with Santa, which was hosted by Friends of the Big Four Depot and Depot Inc., and the Reindeer Dash, Jones said the day also included cookie decorating at Cake and Icing and food on the square that was provided by the Ministerial Association. The day continued with the parade and tree-lighting program and then the Polar Express Experience in the evening where a trolley hosted by My Floors, took children from the theater to the Depot where the kids got off and got cookies and hot chocolate. The trolley then brought the kids back to the theater where they got popcorn and watched the Polar Express movie.
“A lot of times, during the holidays, people go elsewhere for lights and Santa and different gifts and stuff and I think it’s important to remember we have all of that right here in Galion,” Jones said. “You don’t have to leave Galion to visit Santa. Santa is on the square every weekend in the Santa House. The lighting of the Christmas tree, Brownella is decorated for Christmas, the library is decorated for Christmas, a lot of the uptown stores they do a great job with Christmas displays in their windows. There are a lot of things you can do locally and you don’t have to leave Galion. You can ‘come home to Galion’ to do all of those things.
“It’s just great to remember that your hometown or the town you are in now, can provide the same type of entertainment and things and give you that warm feeling because you know everybody that you’re around,” Jones said.
Nearly three dozen groups took part in Saturday’s Come Home to Galion parade, including this trailer holding members of the Crawford County Fair royalty.
Bobbi Carter helps 13-month-old Harmoni decorate a cookie Saturday during the Come Home to Galion celebration.