Humble beginnings inspire Children's Hometown Holiday

A day filled with the magic of Christmas — reindeer, carriage rides, Christmas parade, Santa Claus — all started when one local woman decided downtown Wapakoneta could use more color and festivities during the holiday season.
Colored lights, Children's Hometown Holiday Chair Elaine Poppe said, are what children enjoy during the holidays. They enjoy Santa Claus and believing in the magic of Christmas. For these reasons, Poppe began a project to build Wapakoneta a Santa Outpost — a project which the city has watched grow over the past seven years. 
Known around town for her own Christmas display in her front yard on West Auglaize Street, Poppe's Christmas spirit has spread through Wapakoneta and manifested itself as one of the biggest holiday events in the area. 
"I like to think that the children of Wapak look forward to this and that they will come back
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as adults and continue to enjoy what they see and share the magic with their little children, as well," Poppe said.
The 7th Annual Children's Hometown Holiday kicks off this Saturday with the "Mini Christmas Parade" at 9:45 a.m. starting at Auglaize Street and ending at Santa's Outpost at the Fire Department on Main Street.  
Children will notice a few new favorite characters in the parade this year, including Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Garfield, Scooby Doo, Buddy the Elf and multiple characters from Kung Fu Panda. 
While the events continue to grow every year, Poppe said the biggest hits will remain the same this year, including the famous ice skating rink. The rink will be open from 2:30 - 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.  
For more information and new events this year, see the Wednesday, Dec. 4 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.