Owensville’s ‘Night Out with Santa’ Friday night includes light parade at 7

By Dave Marner, Managing Editor
Posted 12/4/19

Santa and his helpers, along with those attending festivities in downtown Owensville on Friday, will all be covered by liability insurance thanks to the Owensville Chamber of Commerce.

“Night …

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Owensville’s ‘Night Out with Santa’ Friday night includes light parade at 7

Posted

Santa and his helpers, along with those attending festivities in downtown Owensville on Friday, will all be covered by liability insurance thanks to the Owensville Chamber of Commerce.

“Night Out with Santa” kicks off the Christmas season in Owensville with activities starting with a tree lighting ceremony at 5:15 p.m. at the parking lot beside Old World Creations on First Street.

Members of the Owensville Elementary School Choir are scheduled to sing before the lighting ceremony and Owensville High School Dutch Diva dance team members will perform afterward.

Santa will visit with area children from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. with the Lighted Christmas Parade starting at 7 p.m. from South First Street near Highway 28 and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and First Baptist Church grounds.

A “snowflake drop,” featuring special prizes, is being sponsored by volunteers from the Owensville Fire Department after the parade. Look for their ladder truck somewhere around the intersection of First and West Sears.

“We are working on plans for this amazing night,” said Erin Sassmann, OES music teacher and a coordinator of the event. “Each year we are able to make it even better for our community and we hope this year will be no exception.”

The chamber’s executive director, Bob Niebruegge, sent out an email about the event this week to all members of their group encouraging participation in the parade of lights. 

“Please support the effort of these folks in providing a ‘real hometown holiday’ event,” Niebruegge wrote to his fellow chamber members. “They are still seeking entries for the light parade.”

The parade requirements are pretty self-explanatory.

• All vehicles must have lights and Christmas Decorations;

• No candy or items to be thrown. Organizers just want to enjoy the beauty of the lighting displays;

• Participating vehicles or walking groups should line up on First Street by the Catholic and Baptist churches;

• Be ready to roll at 7 p.m.; and,

• Be ready to travel from Highway 28 to north end of First Street where it intersects with Marvin Avenue.

There are plans for free food and beverages. There have been scavenger-hunt type activities and opportunities for children to visit local merchants for snacks or trinkets.

Businesses wishing to participate are invited to contact Sassmann by calling 314-420-8627 or emailing her at sassmannfarms1@gmail.com.

Sassmann appeared before the city’s Board of Aldermen on Nov. 4 after being informed the city would require liability coverage for events staged on city streets.

Brian Samples, the city’s administrator, said this week that requiring insurance for public events on city property is the new standard in most municipalities. Samples said the city began reviewing its policy on the matter over the summer.

“If you look at other cities, all of them require it now,” said Samples of special events liability coverage.

Similar coverage has already been previously required for events in the city’s parks. Proof of insurance will be required now too for all downtown events. Mayor John Kamler announced Monday the Owensville Chamber of Commerce will be providing it for this event.

Kamler even noted at the November meeting that he had been Santa on several occasions for the downtown festivities and wanted to make sure the event went on as being planned.

“We’ve got to fix this,” Sassmann told aldermen last month. “This Christmas thing has grown. I don’t want to see it go away. We have to get it figured out. If we’re going to continue the Christmas downtown we’re going to need to figure something out. It will deter people from participating if they need to pay insurance.”

Samples, noting organizers were a “second party” to an event on public property, noted then, that those planners would not be protected from liability if something happened.

He told aldermen the city had to be the “sole proprietor” of the event of possibly appoint Sassmann to a city committee, should the city opt to provide the liability coverage.

“The biggest concern is to make sure you’re covered,” Samples told Sassmann.

“This city is not trying to stop this event,” said Ward 1 Alderman Kevin McFadden in an effort he noted was designed to “quell the rumor mill.”

Continuing, McFadden said, “We’re trying to work through this issue (of a litigation society). Back in the day people didn’t think about suing the crap out of someone.”

McFadden and suggested the city might look into providing the coverage. Ward 2 Alderman Rob Borgmann suggested the Owensville Chamber of Commerce might be a possible source for the coverage. Kamler said he would check with the city’s attorney.

In the end, Kamler noted this week the city still controls who closes streets for special functions. He thanked Borgmann for the “legwork” in working with chamber officials reach an agreement for them to sponsor insurance coverage for the event Friday.

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