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August 18, 2019

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Your invitation to Bluffton Blaze of Lights on Nov. 24

Parade, food, entertainment and the lights go on at 7 p.m.

For 32 years, the residents of Bluffton have held a celebration known as the Blaze of Lights, which includes a holiday parade, live entertainment, festive family activities, and the lighting of the Ream folk art display.

This year, the event is on Saturday, Nov. 24, when thousands of people will come to enjoy a warm, homestyle Christmas celebration.

"You know when the OSU football game is over," notes chamber CEO Paula Scott; "Suddenly, Main Street is swarmed with people exploring and finding their spots for the parade. It's a great place to meet family and friends.”

Bluffton’s downtown has some nine restaurants and carryouts,16 shops, and a movie theater. Special food and shopping opportunities will begin before the 5 p.m. parade.

These include a chicken dinner at Bluffton Presbyterian church and sandwiches and pies at the Bluffton Senior Center. Luke’s will have live Christmas music. Shops including The Dough Hook, Twisted Whisk Cafe, and Scoreboard Sportwear will have extended hours.

100+ unit parade
The parade is coordinated by Junior Weihrauch, who expects about 100 units.

Town crier John George will announce the parade from the Blaze stage at Cherry and Main Streets. The parade route is on Main Street from Snider Rd. to College Ave.

This year, Santa will appear at the beginning of the Blaze parade so that he can have more time to visit with children at the Bluffton Senior Center.

Live entertainment begins at 6 p.m. and will include Movement – an acoustic trio – and the Bluffton High School Show Choir.

7 p.m. lighting ceremony
The lighting ceremony begins at 7 p.m., when John George will recite the nativity story and an honorary “switch hitter” will turn on the lights.  Horse and wagon rides by Town & Country Carriages and Romick Railway rides will be offered at opposite ends of the business district.

Following the Nov. 24 event, Bluffton's decorations blaze until the new year. In addition to the Ream display, the business district is covered in lighted garlands and snowflakes hung by the Bluffton Fire Department, downtown chamber members compete for best decorated business honors, and local residents compete for $500 in "Bluffton Bucks," awards that can be spent at local businesses.

1.4 miles of lights new this year
The Ream display will blaze brighter than ever, with additional lights for the churchyard trees. Village Administrator Jesse Blackburn calculates that 1.42 miles of lights have been added, including lights funded in part by a grant from the Hancock County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce and Village of Bluffton host the celebration centered on the Ream Display at Bluffton Presbyterian Church.

Harry and Dorothy Ream started making and lighting Christmas figures out of wood and paint in 1938. This novelty brought hundreds of families to their farm, with cars lining up down the country road. In the 1980s, the Ream family donated 168 wood cutouts to the village; dozens more have been created by artist Terry Mullenhour. This year, some 15 volunteers braved windy 20-degree weather to arrange and stake the wooden cutouts.

Funding for the Blaze of Lights festival comes from chamber members. This year 25 businesses donated funds for parade expenses, stage sound and lighting, downtown holiday music, decorating contests, and advertising. 2018 Gold Sponsors are Bluffton University, Spectrum Salon and Bluffton Paving/Bluffton Stone.

For more details:
For more information about the Blaze of Lights, visit ExploreBluffton.com or contact the Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce at blufftonchamber@gmail.com or (419) 369-2985.