Greensburg celebrates 50th Luminary Night on Thursday
Greensburg merchants have been lighting up downtown for the holidays for half a century.
Thursday is the 50th annual Luminary Night, when streets will be lined with luminary lights and downtown stores will be open late.
“It’s kind of red-letter day for Christmas shopping in Greensburg,” said Mary Wilmes, owner of Penelope’s gift shop on South Pennsylvania Avenue.
She has participated in Luminary Night since Penelope’s opened in 1983. In the event’s early years, a small group of business owners decorated the streets with handmade paper lanterns.
“There was no merchant group at that point. We got bags donated, and candles and sand from Bortz Hardware, and we just started doing it,” Wilmes said. “It grew as the years went on.”
This year’s market will feature a live nativity, ice sculptures, music, crafts and more.
“Each year, we’re trying to add a little bit more,” said Jessica Hickey, founder of the Downtown Greensburg Project, which started organizing the night last year.
For many, the highlight is riding on a horse-drawn carriage, of which there will be two this year to shorten waits, Hickey said.
The Westmoreland Cultural Trust will have music, food trucks, drinks and an ugly sweater contest in the alley next to the Palace Theatre on West Otterman Street.
Many stores have refreshments for shoppers. Penelope’s will have eggnog and snacks, Wilmes said.
Shoppers on Luminary Night are usually filled with holiday cheer — and with money to spend, Wilmes said.
“People get very much in the spirit. They come in, and they buy things, and they’re all in a good mood,” she said.
Several local merchants who don’t have stores downtown will get in on the action with an outdoor night market in the Buncher Parking Lot on South Pennsylvania Avenue.
About 1,000 people attended last year’s event, and organizers hope this year’s turnout will be bigger, Hickey said.
“It’s a great night to come out and have a good time for the holiday season,” she said.
Festivities will be held from 5-9 p.m. Thursday. A full schedule of events is online at downtowngreensburgpa.us
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .