The 18th annual event to be held Nov. 20 in downtown Greenville
GREENVILLE – While not a resident of Darke County, Steve Baker has spent a
considerable amount of time here covering news and events the past 40 years.
As for Betty Birt, she’s a self-described “transplant” after marrying Greenville native Rick
Birt in 1971.
Both Baker and Birt, who have shown dedication to Darke County, will serve as co-Grand
Marshals for the Hometown Holiday Horse Parade on Nov. 20. Birt was named Grand
Marshal for the 2019 event and Baker the Grand Marshal for the 2020 event, but both
parades were canceled. The event his hosted by Main Street Greenville.
The 18th annual Hometown Holiday Horse Parade’s lighted horse caravan starts at 7 p.m.
along South Broadway in downtown Greenville.
Baker started his career in broadcasting after a stint in the Navy. In 1970, he returned
home and began working in radio at WPTW in Piqua. His father owned the station.
Baker recalled his father saying he had a six-month trial and if it didn’t work out, Baker
was out. Fifty years later Baker is still broadcasting.
Prior to joining WHIO-TV in 1980, the legendary reporter got a taste of the television
side of broadcasting while working as a stringer for Channel 2.
Diana Stebbins, chairperson for the Hometown Holiday Horse Parade, said when the
event began organizers were fortunate to have between 1,000 to 2,000 spectators.
After one of Baker’s stories on the event that number jumped to as many as 10,000 in attendance.
Now semi-retired, Baker can still be seen in surrounding communities chasing and
sharing stories. It’s not uncommon for the popular and ever-smiling Baker – whether on
assignment or simply dining out or taking a stroll – to hear someone shout, “Hi Steve!”
or give a friendly wave.
Baker said it’s the people he’s met along the way that have made his job enjoyable and
he’s always ready to answer questions or chat for a few minutes.
Baker was inducted into the Dayton Area Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2011, and has as
many honors and accolades as stories he’s covered. He served a five-county area as a
“one-man band” most of his career.
He lives in Troy with his wife, Marty, for more than 50 years. They have two adult
children and four grandchildren.
As for Birt, she found her way to Darke County after marrying Rick, who was born and
raised in Greenville.
“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 I’m very
happy that I am!”
Birt graduated in 1967 from Immaculate Conception High School in Elmhurst, Illinois, (a
northwest suburb of Chicago), before graduating from Siena Heights University in
Adrian, Michigan, in 1971.
Birt and husband Rick have three adult children – Betsy, Sarah, and Rick – and five
Birt, who also worked at Brethren Retirement Community, first began volunteering for
Main Street Greenville under the leadership of Amber Schmerge and worked closely
with both Amber and Deanna York, a former Executive Director of the Darke County
Visitors Bureau. Birt collaborated with York to bring GOBA (Great Ohio Bicycle
Adventure) to Greenville, which saw more than 2,000 cyclists from around the world
ride into Greenville. When the Main Street Greenville Executive Director role was filled
by Amber Garrett, Birt’s involvement grew as the two had previously worked together at
BRC. Birt became a member of the board in 2013 and served as board secretary
beginning in 2015.
During her term, First Fridays were instituted and quickly grew into an integral part of
Main Street Greenville’s events.
“Betty Birt was an easy choice to serve as a Main Street Greenville Board Member,”
Garrett said. “Her positive attitude, willingness to volunteer, and her continuous
support of downtown Greenville were all beneficial to the organization over the years.”
Birt has coordinated the Last Chance Mercantile for the Gathering at Garst for the last
six years. She serves as a Darke County Center for the Arts board member and is in her
second term as Secretary.
She also volunteers monthly with the Soup Kitchen at Grace through St. Mary’s Church.
The Birts are both involved with Citizens for Safer Streets, a grassroots group
determined to create a clean and safe community.
The 18th Annual Hometown Holiday Horse Parade features dozens of lighted horse
drawn carriages, buggies and riders as they welcome in the holiday season. The 2021
event will take place on Saturday, November 20th, with pre-parade entertainment
beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the parade starting at 7 p.m.
For more information visit contact Chairperson Diana Stebbins at 937-606-4776 or by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Main Street Greenville is a non-profit organization committed to stimulating and
supporting revitalization efforts, historic preservation and economic growth in Historic
Downtown Greenville. To learn more about the organization, visit or call 937-548-4998.
Follow MSG on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mainstreetgreenville.