Santa will kick off the holidays in Historic Dublin Thursday, Nov. 29 with a Christmas tree lighting.
The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, slated for 6 p.m. Nov. 29 in front of Indian Run Elementary School, 80 W. Bridge St., will mark the start of festive activities and contests in the historic district.
Santa and Dublin City Council members will light the 25-foot tree and Dublin City School students will set the mood with music. Santa's reindeer will be on hand and hot chocolate and pizza will be available from the Late Night Slice food truck.
During the tree lighting, children's winter gloves will be collected for Welcome Warehouse.
From 7 to 8 p.m., the Dublin branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 75 N. High St., will host Santa and cookies.
Festivities will continue Dec. 1 with a gingerbread house auction and the Battle of the Restaurants Chili Cook-Off.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. people can peruse gingerbread houses crafted by Dublin high school students at Sisters Sweet Shoppe, 45 N. High St.
People can bid on the houses through a silent auction, with proceeds going to a charity voted upon by students.
The gingerbread house auction has produced some beautiful confections over the years, Sisters Sweet Shoppe owner Nanette Purdy said.
"One was a Snoopy house and it was so cute. It had Snoopy on the roof. It was very popular and made a lot of money," she said. "We had one with a beautiful lighthouse to the side. It was beautiful and had a roof covered in sunflower seeds. We have a lot of kids put pools in and have a Hawaiian look. They have people standing with leis and fish in the pool. We had a couple that were very buckeye themed that are very creative and cute."
High school students also will be on hand during the auction to help children with crafts.
"We've always had more than 300 people come. They bring their families and sometimes the place is just jammed with people," Purdy said, adding that the shop will be giving out free samples of its fruitcakes.
Historic Dublin Business Association president Brenda Kocak said the chili cookoff will run from 1 to 4 p.m. at Brazenhead, La Chatelaine, Dublin Village Tavern, Mezzo, Tucci's California Bistro and J. Liu.
People can sample chili from all six restaurants and vote on their favorite for the People's Choice award.
"People's Choice last year was a Hawaiian-style chili," Kocak said. "Everyone likes it. There are different versions of chili."
A panel of judges including Robin Davis of The Columbus Dispatch, WBNS-10TV anchor Chuck Strickler and The Fan Buckeye Show host Jonathon T-Bone Smith, will decide upon the winner of the cook off.
"Last year we probably had 200 tasters," Kocak said. "We're hoping to increase that this year."
Tasting tickets are available for $5 and proceeds benefit the Miracle of Mom's Memory, or MoMM, Foundation that serves the poor, homeless and others through mission-driven projects, education and volunteering.
"One of the people on the board with MoMM came to us. They heard about the chili cook off and wanted to be the charity," Kocak said. "Our board looked at MoMM and decided on them because they are Dublin based and help families in Dublin. They thought it would be a good fit."
Tickets can be purchased Dec. 1 during the cook off for $5. Tickets can also be purchased in advance for three tickets for the price of two at Sisters Sweet Shoppe and Ha'Penny Bridge Imports.
For the holidays the Historic Dublin Business Association also will host a "12 Elves of Dublin" hunt. Children can find elves hidden at 12 Historic Dublin businesses to qualify for prizes through Dec. 13.
Open houses in Historic Dublin also are slated for Nov. Saturday 29 and Dec. 13. A trolley will be running through Historic Dublin during the open houses and bagpipers and carolers will provide music. Small Business Saturday, a national day to promote shopping at small businesses, is Nov. 29.
"A lot of businesses are putting together a cool design plan for the holidays so we hope people will come take a stroll," Kocak said.
For more information, look online at historicdublin.org.