The Canal Winchester Times

Christmas in the Village

Organizers hope for good weather, large crowds

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Santa is bringing Mrs. Claus to Canal Winchester's Christmas in the Village this year, providing visitors the opportunity to meet and have their pictures taken with both of them.

This year's event will once again take place in downtown Canal Winchester. Activities will start after the Clauses arrive at 6 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7-8.

Christmas in the Village is hosted by the city and Destination: Canal Winchester, with help from local businesses and community volunteers.

The annual event brings out a few hundred people most years, organizer Diane Mays said, but last year, that number nearly doubled.

"Last year, we had such a mild weekend that we had the largest turnout we've ever had, so we're really hoping for good weather again to get even more people down here," Mays said. "A lot of the shops stay open late and they host some of the activities as well as give people a chance to do some Christmas shopping."

Activities this year will include:

* Horse-drawn carriage rides, leaving from in front of Huntington Bank.

* Hayrides, departing from in front of the municipal building.

* Children's games inside Chase Bank.

* Ice sculptors at Stradley Place.

* Electric trains at the community center.

* Roving carolers.

* Children's crafts at Town Hall.

* A business expo at the community center.

* A popcorn station at Stradley Place.

The gingerbread house contest returns this year with two categories: one for entrants age 12 and younger and another for those older than 12. The contest is sponsored by Village Wine Shop at 10 S. High St. Visitors are invited to stop in and vote for their favorite creation.

Parents are encouraged to bring their own cameras to take photographs of their children with Santa, who will be set up inside the Huntington Bank, and with Mrs. Claus, who will be inside Dragonfly Gift & Candle.

A tree-lighting takes place both nights on the grassy knoll behind Stradley Place.

Christmas in the Village is a free event, but attendees are encouraged to bring donations for the Community Food Pantry; these may be dropped off at the Huntington Bank during visits with Santa.

Santa will return to Canal Winchester on Saturday, Dec. 15, for the annual Breakfast with Santa at the Frances Steube Community Center, 22 S. Trine St., from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Two breakfast sessions are scheduled, although space is limited. Tickets are $5 each for ages 1 and older; there is no charge for children younger than 1.

"The Santa breakfast sells out each year," Mays said. "Tickets are available now at the city offices, community center and Village Wines.

"Because of donations, we're able to give almost all of the money from tickets to the Adopt-a-Family program through Human Services. Last year, we gave about $620 - which was triple from the year before. This year, we hope to give even more."

More information about both Christmas in the Village and the Breakfast with Santa is available from Mays at 614-834-7501 or online at canalwinchesterohio.gov.

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