Rocky Fork Enterprise

Holiday Lights!

Parade to feature stilt walkers, local band, mountain dogs


More than 60 entries are scheduled to shine during the annual Holiday Lights! parade that will step off at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, from Clark Hall, 380 Granville St.

The parade, presented by AEP Ohio and the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau, will march west on Granville Street and then north on Mill Street into Olde Gahanna.

Susan Peters, the visitors bureau's events manager, said 60 entries already had registered by Nov. 12, and several last-minute participants are expected to join the parade that attracts 15,000 to 20,000 people.

The parade is touted as one of the largest nighttime illuminated holiday events in the Midwest.

Peters said the popular Striker Air Rescue Firefighting Truck from the Port Columbus International Airport will be there, with thousands of lights synchronized to music.

"We're also looking forward to stilt walkers," she said. "There will be individuals on stilts as a lighted Christmas tree and roving Christmas present."

A new float this year, sponsored by CeraNet, has a Toyland theme.

AEP Ohio, sponsor of the Holiday Lights! season, will feature a lighted tree float.

"We're also thrilled this year to have the Gahanna Lincoln High School marching band," Peters said. "They were out of state last year."

The local Heartland Bank will be back with a horse-drawn wagon. The popular Bernese mountain dogs also will return to the parade.

"We have six snowplows from the elementary schools," Peters said. "The city's plows were painted by students through the visual-arts program. We have more of those this year."

Canal Winchester will be represented by its queen and her court in the parade.

"We're just really proud this year that we have two grand marshals," Peters said. "One of them is our community grand marshal, Beverly Metcalf, and our celebrity grand marshal is Butch Reynolds. It's fun to have two grand marshals."

Metcalf, a 43-year Gahanna resident, opened Metcalf Design & Printing with her family in 1982. She has been a Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce member since 1989 and was a board member from 1991 to 1999. In 1999, Metcalf became a member of the board of Gahanna Events, where she served as the chairperson of the Holiday Lights! parade committee for five years.

Reynolds held the world record for the 400-meter dash for 11 years.

He won the silver medal in the event in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and was a member of the relay team that won the gold medal in the Olympics that year.

Reynolds also will join in the Healthy Holiday 5K Fun Run and 1-mile Family Fun Run, presented by Mount Carmel on Friday morning, Nov. 29.

Participants should register for either race at The 5K run will start at 10:30 a.m. in downtown Gahanna, followed by the 1-mile Family Fun Run at 10:45 a.m.