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Greensburg embraces holiday spirit

| Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

The annual Holiday Parade on Saturday will kick off a season of festive activities in Greensburg.

The Pittsburgh Pirates Parrot is the grand marshal for the parade, which starts at noon Saturday near the bridge on North Main Street and proceeds through downtown.

Several thousand people will watch the parade of vehicles, bands and marchers each year. This time, more than 100 units are expected to march.

The Pittsburgh Pierogies will join the Parrot during the parade. And, of course, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will be on hand.

Bonnie Lewis, former executive director of the YWCA in Greensburg, will be recognized during the parade as “Community Leader.”

Police will be directing traffic around Main Street during the parade, with Pennsylvania, Maple and College avenues as alternate routes.

The parade ushers in seasonal events to be held over the next few weeks in Greensburg. A sample from the smorgasbord includes:

•On Sunday, the annual Open House of downtown businesses will be held from noon to 5 p.m., with stores offering discounts.

Businesses also will offer different cookies for tasting as part of the Cookie Walk.

The event, sponsored by the Greensburg Business Association, began 45 years ago, event chairman Kevin Misick said.

• Luminary Night is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Dec. 5.

The lights of the holiday will line sections of Pennsylvania Avenue and Main and Second streets.

Participants can enjoy rides in horse-drawn carriages rides and Stage Right! students will sing carols.

Participating businesses will be open with extended hours.

“It's a wonderful evening,” said event chairwoman Mimi Trakofler of Penelope's on South Pennsylvania Avenue. “People look forward to it every year.”

The Academy Hill Historic District will be participating with a fresh greens sale at 402 S. Pennsylvania Ave., behind Citizens Bank. Pine wreaths and roping will be available for purchase.

The Bethlehem Project, a ministry of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in the city, will sell raffle tickets for items that will be on display in the parklet on South Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Bethlehem Project works directly with Catholic Charities to help families to pay rent to avoid eviction or to obtain housing for those who are homeless. In 2012, it disbursed almost $69,800 to support 205 families.

Tickets cost $15 each. The raffle will be held Dec. 15 in the parish hall at Blessed Sacrament. The winning ticket will be pulled at the conclusion of the 11:30 a.m. Mass, around 1 p.m.

• The Greensburg Garden Center's Annual Christmas Sale will be held 3-7 p.m. Dec. 6 and 9 a.m-1 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center. On sale will be creations designed by garden center members — kissing balls, noble fir wreaths, candle rings, mixed-green swags, ground pine and white pine roping, hanging baskets, permanent wreaths and more. To pre-order fresh greens, call 724-837-0245 by Monday.

• The 20th anniversary edition of The Nutcracker Ballet will be presented by the Westmoreland Symphony and the Laurel Ballet Company.

The holiday tradition will be presented at 2 and 7 p.m. on Dec. 14 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 15 at The Palace Theatre with guest conductor Walter Morales.

Tickets can by purchased by calling the Palace at 724-836-8000 or going online to www.thepalacetheatre.org.

• Greensburg Civic Theater's Greasepaint Players will present “Twas the Night Before Christmas” at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and 1 and 4 p.m. on Dec. 7. Tickets are $6 in advance; $8 at the door. Tickets can be ordered online or through the Palace box office.

• Stage Right! will present “La Befana A Christmas Musical,” an Italian folktale of a kindly witch who brings sweets to children on Christmas Eve, at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 20 and 21 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 22. Tickets can be ordered online or through the Palace box office.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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