Strand Theatre named grand marshal of Christmas parade

Main Street Delaware announced the Strand Theatre as the official 30th annual Christmas parade grand marshal. This will be a culminating piece of the theatre’s Century of Cinema celebration to remember and highlight 100 years in the Delaware community.

The annual Christmas parade will take place Nov. 20, continuing the tradition of kicking off the holiday shopping season. It steps off at 3 p.m. from Mingo Park and heads west along East Lincoln Avenue, then turns and proceeds south on North Sandusky Street through downtown, before finishing near Ohio Wesleyan University’s campus at Wilmer Street.

Representing the Strand Theatre as grand marshal will be local resident Ben Geary, whose ties to the historic theatre date back to 1948, when he joined the staff as a doorman.

Geary was born in a small seaport town outside of Nice, France, in 1922. He came to the United States in 1943 as part of the first class of French cadets under President Roosevelt’s Land Lease Program. Geary served in the U.S. 9th Army Air Corps from 1944 to 1947.

In 1948, Geary and his wife moved to Delaware, and he began his career with the Strand Theatre. From his work as a doorman, Geary went on to become a Schine Theatre regional manager in Athens and Kent, Ohio. He then moved to New York, where he became a division manager, overseeing all Ohio theatre properties. Geary continued his management of theatre properties until his retirement in 1987. Currently he is a trusted advisor and friend to the Strand Theatre.

The 2016 parade, “A Delaware Christmas Story,” also features the winner of the September Pet Walk contest, Henry, as the furry grand marshal, a special appearance by Santa Claus; and the elves of the U.S. Post Office walking the route to collect letters from children for delivery to the North Pole.

Also on Nov. 20, downtown businesses will unveil their decorated storefronts to get in the holiday spirit.

Main Street Delaware continues the cheer of the season with the Dec. 2 First Friday celebration which includes a community tree-lighting ceremony. Santa will be in his house at the Strand Theatre and carriage rides will take place on First Friday and throughout the month.

Shoppers also are invited to “shop small” during Small Business Saturday, on Nov. 26, and to take part in the Main Street Delaware Holiday Open House from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 10 at various stores throughout downtown.