The Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau and AEP Ohio ushered Santa Claus into the city as the grand finale of the 2013 Holiday Lights parade Nov. 29.
More than 60 entrants marched down Granville Street to Mill Street into Olde Gahanna during the parade that is touted as one of the largest nighttime illuminated holiday events in the Midwest.
Gahanna resident Christy Dean said she has been attending the parade since it started.
Her son, Quinn, 6, enjoyed the event with his 5-year-old friend, Paxton Yates, who munched on a big bag of popcorn while waiting for the parade to begin.
Blacklick resident Judy Therrien attended Holiday Lights for the first time.
"It was nice," she said. "I won a raffle that included snacks and tea (at the Ohio Herb Education Center). Santa was the best part of the parade."
Friday's parade also marked the inaugural visit by Galena resident Debbie Hartman.
"I liked the Heartland Bank horse-drawn wagon, the decorated fire trucks and the Bernese mountain dogs," she said.
Hartman said she also enjoyed shopping at the Ohio Herb Education Center, 110 Mill St., where she sampled and purchased herbal teas.
Herb center recreation coordinator and herbalist Brooke Sackenheim said the center drew many visitors, who took tours there. She said she's looking forward to Santa visiting the herb center throughout December.
"We're super excited," Sackenheim said. "We're switching it up. Mrs. Claus will be hosting a craft, making dream pillows."
Guests also could learn how to concoct a peppermint foot bath.
"We'll have peppermint hot chocolate," Sackenheim said. "That's Santa's favorite, as well as the children. We hope everyone will come."
Santa will be at the herb center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 7, 14 and 21.
Children also could visit Santa at Lew Griffin Insurance Group, 77 Mill St., from 6 to 8 p.m. Fridays, Dec. 6, 13 and 20, as well as from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 7, 14 and 21.
Gahanna's CVB also is bringing back the popular Holiday Character Breakfast, presented by Giant Eagle, on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Olde Gahanna Sanctuary, 82 N. High St. The event will begin at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast. Friendly costumed characters will visit with children as they listen to a holiday story. Several seatings will be offered. The cost is $7 in advance or $10 at the door.
For tickets or additional information, go online to visitgahanna.com.
Creekside's Winter Wonderland, featuring an estimated 150,000 lights, will remain illuminated through Jan. 5, 2014.