Grand indeed

Annual Hometown Celebration lights up Troy

Photo: Troy’s 32 foot tall tree will illuminate the city starting on November 24

By Tim Smith

If the days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping, it must be time for holiday festivals. The city of Troy will be holding their own version when they host their annual Hometown Celebration and Grand Illumination on Nov. 24.

Troy has been hosting this downtown celebration of all things Christmas for more than 50 years. This year’s festival features returning favorites, including phone calls to the North Pole, visits with Santa in the newly constructed Santa House, carriage rides, holiday music, refreshments, shopping at local merchants, Mayor Beamish’s special holiday reading, and the lighting of the tree.

Nicole Loy of the Troy Main Street organization, the festival’s driving force, says that this year’s event will offer something for everyone.

“Troy has held a Christmas tree lighting ceremony for over 50 years, although it hasn’t always been called the Grand Illumination,” she says. “Santa Claus’s arrival, the Kris Kringle market, the carriage rides, and music have all evolved over time to make the event what it is today. Santa’s arrival is always a big hit. The looks on children’s faces when he arrives on the fire truck makes the entire event worthwhile.”

As with any holiday festival, music plays a large part, and the Troy community has that covered.

“The Grand Illumination will be bringing back the Melody Men for the main entertainment,” Loy says. “The Melody Men is a barbershop chorus, and they will be performing a wide repertoire of Christmas songs. New this year, we will also be enjoying the performance of Troy City School’s American Sign Language students. They will sign and sing several holiday songs.”

Santa and his helpers will receive visitors in The Santa House, located on Prouty Plaza, one of the quadrants on the square.

“The Western Ohio Home Builders Association helped us acquire the Santa House two years ago,” Loy says. “Santa now has a wonderful place where children can visit him during the entire Christmas season. Each child receives a candy cane when they meet with Santa Claus. There will also be hot chocolate and cookies there, sponsored by Alvetro Orthodontics. Kettering Health Network will be handing out ornaments during the event. Santa will be in his house immediately following the tree lighting, but he will also be there every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through Dec. 23. He has to go back to the North Pole after that to gear up for Christmas.”

Another feature geared for younger visitors is the Kris Kringle Market, a one-stop shop for kids to pick up something special to place under the tree.

“The Kris Kringle Market offers children the opportunity to purchase quality handmade items as gifts for their families,” Loy says. “The items include knitted scarves and hats, ornaments, wreaths, jewelry, figurines, pottery, toys, paintings, and more. Most items are priced under $20.00 to give children the chance to make great purchases with little money. This year, the Market will be held at the Troy Rec Center beginning at 4 p.m., while the Grand Illumination itself will begin at 5 p.m. and runs until 8:30 pm.”

Although Troy Main Street undertakes the festival, there’s no shortage of community spirit and involvement.

“The Grand Illumination coincides with our monthly Shop Hop where businesses stay open until 9 p.m.,” Loy Says. “During our Shop Hops, many businesses choose to offer specials to encourage shoppers to enter their business. The businesses are very supportive of the Grand Illumination. It’s a wonderful family event that is loved by many.”

Some aspects of the Grand Illumination need to be done a year in advance, while most preparations begin a few months before the big date.

“There are several groups involved in coordinating the event,” Loy says. “Troy Main Street works alongside the City of Troy, Troy Community Radio, and our sponsors to make the event special. And, of course, the Grand Illumination is nothing without the generous tree donation, which is given to the city by a different Troy citizen each year. Rick and Cheri Sandifer are donating this year’s tree. It is 42 feet tall, but they cut it down to 32 feet to place on the Public Square. There are 3,000 LED lights on the tree.”

One of the annual highlights is the reading of a special holiday poem by Mayor Beamish.

“Each year, Mayor Beamish reads The Month Before Christmas, a poem based off of Clement Clarke Moore’s poem, The Night Before Christmas,” Loy says. “The Month Before Christmas incorporates various aspects of the Troy community and is different each year. What people may not know is that Mayor Beamish and his wife, Karen, write the poem together for him to read to the community.”

“The Grand Illumination is geared around building holiday and community spirit, and it does a great job of doing so,” Loy adds. “We would love every visitor to leave the event a little happier than before.”

The Hometown Holiday Celebration and Grand Illumination will be held in downtown Troy on Nov. 24 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The tree lighting ceremony will be at 6:45 p.m. For more information, visit troymainstreet.org or call 937.339.5455.

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Tim Smith
Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Smith at TimSmith@DaytonCityPaper.com

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