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The People BEHIND the 20th Annual Halifax Belsnickel Festivities

By: Dylan Bowman, HAHS Board Member

December 4, 2023

Jane Mello, HAHS Board Member, displaying the cleaned-out soup and chili...we had to go get more food! Photo by Dylan Bowman.

1 Day. 335 Days of Preparation.

The entirety of the Belsnickel Parade & Festival had been prepared and planned for by the Halifax Area Historical Society, namely the newly formed Belsnickel Parade Committee that took into account all past parades and what could be done to make this year's (the 20th anniversary) bigger and better than ever.

However, this was far from a one-off plan that would arrive with a bang but die out with a whimper.

HAHS President, Ryan Bowman, and HAHS Special Event Curator, Danean Walker (also Chair of the Belsnickel Parade Committee), led the charge into contacting numerous organizations, small businesses, local companies and individual parties of interest who would eventually partake in the parade or festival in some way.

Furthermore, everything, both large and small had to be coordinated and created in preparation for the one Saturday in December on which the event fell. Signs were made by Fastsigns of Mechanicsburg for all direction and information at the event, and much of the merchandise was fabricated through the company or via the directing force of Ryan Bowman.

Food, crafts, children's activities, the 50/50 raffle, volunteers, parade participants, vendors, parking attendants, shuttles and shuttle drivers, parade coordination and line-up, financial coordination, sponsors, location scouting and much, much more was largely pursued and obtained through the tireless work of Bowman, Walker and the Belsnickel Parade Committee.

Top: Ryan Bowman and Danean Walker discuss particulars before the parade begins. Photo by Dylan Bowman.

Bottom: Volunteers assist in the execution of the Belsnickel Parade & Festival. Photo by Dylan Bowman.

Volunteers, Leaders and Foot-Soldiers

Though organized by a small group, the event itself was led by and operated by a large number of individuals, beyond just members of the HAHS. Other local individuals and groups and even some small businesses stepped in to volunteer their time and resources to the community for the day, making the success not only possible, but incredible.

From the Halifax Fire Department providing traffic control and the Boy Scouts maintaining the bonfire to the numerous individuals leading facepainting and crafts, this event could not have been possible without the volunteers, leaders and foot-soldiers who helped in any way they could, large or small.

Individuals come together to make the 20th Annual Belsnickel Parade & Festivities one to remember. Photo by Dylan Bowman.

The Future and Thanks

The Society plans on continuing its marketing campaign via email, social media, photo, and video means, but the prospect of news coverage has also been discussed, both in newspaper and television news media form if possible.

Furthermore, the Halifax Area Historical Society aims to lead the charge into a lasting renewal of energy through a love of history and fellowship in the community. But it is known by all involved that this amazing dream cannot be achieved without the help, knowledge, care, and interest of others outside of the Society. It is in these folks, YOU, that we hold our trust and admiration.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and/or resources and to those who came out to be a part of their community for our 20th Annual Belsnickel Parade & Festival.

If you have the desire to volunteer at the HAHS, even for one job at one event that you have a passion for, it will make all the difference. Contact us any time at our email ( or phone number (717-896-8010). We would love to get to know you!

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