Main Street Greenville’s Board of Directors and the Horse Parade Committee have named Betty Birt, previous Main Street Greenville Board Secretary, as the Grand Marshal of the 2019 Hometown Holiday Horse Parade.
Betty Birt graduated in 1967 from Immaculate Conception High School in Elmhurst, Illinois (a NW suburb of Chicago), before attending and graduating from Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan in 1971.
Betty married Rick Birt, who was born and raised in Greenville, in November of 1971.
“I ended up in Greenville just like a lot of ‘transplants’ have,” said Betty. “My husband, Rick, told me that he would take me to ‘God's country’ and here I am! And very happy that I am!”
Betty worked at Brethren Retirement Community and she and husband Rick have 3 children, Betsy, Sarah, and Rick. Betsy lives in London, Ohio with her partner, Dave, and works for Cardinal Health in Dublin. Sarah lives in Greenville with her partner, Jeff, and recently graduated cum laude from Kettering College of Medicine with a Bachelor of Science. Sarah and Jeff have 3 children, Kali, 15, Piper, 5, and Cai, 20 months. Rick lives in Wilmington, Ohio and was just recently promoted to Lieutenant at the Wilmington Fire Department. Rick and his wife Devin have 2 children, Foster who is 6 and Reece who is 5 years old.
Betty first began volunteering for Main Street Greenville under the leadership of Amber Schmerge and worked closely with both Amber and Deanna York, the previous Executive Director of the Darke County Visitors Bureau. Betty collaborated with Deanna to bring GOBA (Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure) to Greenville, which saw over 2,000 cyclists from around the world descend on Greenville. Riders got the chance to experience hallmarks of Greenville such as The Maid-Rite, The Garst Museum, and downtown shopping. When the Main Street Greenville Executive Director role was filled by Amber Garrett, Betty’s involvement grew as the two had previously worked together for several years at BRC. Betty became a member of the board in 2013 and served as board secretary beginning in 2015.
During her term on the board First Fridays were instituted and quickly grew to be an integral part of the services that Main Street Greenville offers. Betty’s involvement and consistent volunteerism helped to create a vibrancy in the district that attracted new businesses and spurred more interest in the downtown from the citizens of Greenville.
“Betty Birt was an easy choice to serve as a Main Street Greenville Board Member,” said previous director Amber Garrett. “Her positive attitude, willingness to volunteer, and her continuous support of downtown Greenville were all beneficial to the organization over the years. Betty has been involved with numerous projects, programs, and events including the free pony rides during the Hometown Holiday Horse Parade.”
When asked about her favorite part of downtown Greenville, Betty touched on may of the events that bring the community together throughout the year: “When I think about my favorite part of downtown, I think of the people! I like walking downtown and seeing folks I know and stopping and chatting along the way. I like walking into the shops and to be greeted by the owners. I love the Halloween Parade! I love hearing the GHS Band playing the same scary music that was played when our children were littles and marched down Broadway! I love the Horse Parade and all of the lights and the horses prancing down the street and all of the good smells from the street vendors! I love Christmastime and seeing the beautiful windows and the Circle and the street lights decorated and hearing the Christmas music. I love the car show and the nostalgic tunes and all of the memories that are brought to mind. I love seeing and participating in the fun stuff at the YOLO park. The Homecoming Parade and all of the spirit and enthusiasm wrapped around it is just so much fun! The Greenville Fire Department, when they bring out the aerial trucks and hang the flag....I could go on and on. Too hard to pick a favorite--there is just too much good stuff going on.”
In addition to her ongoing support of downtown, Betty has coordinated the Last Chance Mercantile for the Gathering at Garst for the last 5 years. She also volunteers monthly with the Soup Kitchen at Grace through St. Mary’s Church. Betty and Rick are both involved with Citizens for Safer Streets, a grassroots group determined to create a clean and safe community, and Rick is a member of the “Friends of the Greenville City Parks” committee.
When not volunteering, Betty and Rick enjoy travel, spending time at Indian Lake, and living within walking distance to all of the downtown activities, restaurants, and shopping! “And of course,” Betty says, “the best of any activity always involves family and friends.”
The 16th Annual Hometown Holiday Horse Parade is just such an activity, as all are invited to bring family and friends to enjoy the spectacle of 90+ lighted horse drawn carriages, buggies, and riders as they jingle through downtown and welcome in the holiday season. The 2019 event will take place on Saturday, November 23rd, with pre-parade entertainment beginning at 5:30 pm and the parade starting at 7:00 pm.
Main Street Greenville is a non-profit organization that supports downtown Greenville, Ohio
through stimulating and supporting revitalization efforts, historic preservation and economic
growth. You can contact them at 937-548-4998 or email@example.com .