Committee proposes single date, no parade for Latrobe holiday events
Latrobe’s public holiday season celebrations could be consolidated to a single day — and without a parade.
Community organizers have asked the city to reschedule its holiday kickoff bonfire, normally held the day after Thanksgiving, to the evening of Dec. 1. If moved, it would follow events planned for earlier that day — Holly Jolly activities in and around the Latrobe Art Center and Santa’s Party in the Park, which is sponsored by local radio station WCNS at nearby Rogers Park. It previously was held the Friday after Thanksgiving.
At its October meeting, council is expected to vote on the new date for the bonfire, which is held next to the Goodwill Hose Company fire hall in First Ward, as well as a proposal to eliminate a city-organized holiday parade that in recent years has preceded Santa’s Party.
Lauren Buches, executive director of the Latrobe Art Center and spokeswoman for the Holly Jolly event committee, said the organizers have heard that spectators are sparse along much of the parade route.
“They really only crowd the last block and a half,” she said, to be nearer to the Rogers Park, where Santa Claus arrives and visits with children.
Mayor Rosie Wolford noted she had a similar concern when she brought her grandchildren to the Santa’s Party event.
“I went straight to the park because the line (to see Santa) goes up to the art center and around the corner. Everybody is waiting for Santa to get to the park,” she said.
Buches said the committee would like for Santa to continue to arrive at the park on a fire truck. If the parade isn’t held, organizers still plan to have entertainment at the park or on an adjacent section of Main Street that would be closed to traffic, she said.
The Holly Jolly event also would include children’s activities at the art center, vendors, snacks for sale and a prize raffle that visitors could enter after visiting several Latrobe merchants who would open their shops that day.
Organizers said scheduling the holiday activities for a single day will benefit businesses and those who plan to attend the festivities.
“To get people to come into town on two weekends is pretty confusing,” said committee member Jim Okonak.
Moving some events to a later date also would avoid a conflict with the holiday kickoff activities and arrival of Santa planned for Nov. 23 in nearby Ligonier, Buches said.
Council asked member Christine Weller to meet with the Holly Jolly organizers and report on the event plans.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.