Pickerington will host multiple events this week and next as area residents gear up for holiday season.
The festivities kick off from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 with the "Olde Village Holiday" in the heart of Olde Pickerington Village, sponsored by the Olde Pickerington Village Business Association, and made possible through a combined effort of area organizations, businesses and churches.
Activities include free carriage rides, free children's crafts, strolling carolers, storytelling, a live nativity scene, the "Plaza of Lights" and Pickerington's traditional "Village Tree Lighting" ceremony.
Santa will be on hand as well, taking time out of a busy schedule to have his picture taken with children.
The historic downtown area will be awash with light, courtesy of BJ Bouquets and the Pickerington Area Kiwanis and its Key Club, who are installing luminaries.
Santa will hold court at David Beckham Photography, 6 Lockville Road, where people will have the option of purchasing a 5-inch-by-7-inch photograph of their little ones with Santa Claus.
Proceeds from the purchase of the photographs will go to benefit Faith Mission.
Children will have the opportunity to create their own special tree ornaments at the Hair Boutique, 37 E. Columbus St. and take their creations home with them at no cost.
Deblin Designs, 18 E. Columbus St., will be distributing free jingle bell bracelets while supplies last.
New this year is a live nativity scene, complete with trained sheep and a donkey, presented by C3 Church. The event will take place at the vacant gas station on the corner of Hill Road and Columbus Street.
The PMCA Food Pantry of Pickerington will be selling hot chocolate at the Village Tree Lighting ceremony and also kicking off its annual "Plaza of Lights" fundraiser, in which lights are placed on the evergreens in the plaza in front of the Carnegie Building on West Columbus Street.
The Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society will spin holiday yarns at its museum in the Carnegie Building on West Columbus Street.
The tree-lighting ceremony will be conducted at 7:30 p.m. in the center of Olde Village by the gazebo.
The Merry Mile
Simply getting off the couch, especially after imbibing in calorie-laden food and drink, can be a challenge during the holiday season.
This year, the city of Pickerington has come up with a novel approach in which to celebrate the season, mixing frivolity with a dose of healthy exercise, by presenting "The Merry Mile," a festive one-mile jaunt through the heart of Olde Pickerington Village at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15.
Tammy Sawyer, executive assistant to Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray, said the whole idea behind the event is simply to get people off the couch and onto the streets, whether they walk, run, skip, skateboard or even cartwheel.
"You can do whatever you want, it's designed to get people moving," Sawyer said.
She said the concept for the Merry Mile originated in large part from Mayor Lee Gray, who has been following a daily exercise regimen himself as of late.
"The mayor this year has made a bigger commitment to his own health and fitness," Sawyer said.
"He works out every day. He thought it would be good to do something a little bit different so (people) are not just sitting around inside."
The event will start at City Hall, 100 Lockville Road.
Sawyer said "the actual course is north on Lockville Road to Park Alley, west on Columbus Street, south on Hill Road, east on Park Alley and south on Lockville Road."
She said the lights and luminaries placed "all along Columbus Street will guide people (along) the path," and carolers will serenade participants with holiday favorites, as well.
It will end in Victory Park, where the party continues on with free hot chocolate, free popcorn, live music and a visit from Santa Claus.
"We thought it would be fun to have something in (Victory Park) afterwards," Sawyer said.
She said the event is strictly a casual "fun run," and not a race.
"We're going to have prizes for best holiday attire," Sawyer said. "Anyone that comes out and looks the most festive will win."
"We're hoping families come out, enjoy the holiday charm of Olde Village and get a little exercise while they're at it," said Mayor Lee Gray. "(It) should be a lot of fun."
The cost to participate in the Merry Mile is $5, which includes a "Merry Mile" T-shirt.
Registration is to be completed online at the city's website, www.ci.pickerington.oh.us
Participants are also encouraged to donate non-perishable food items to the PCMA Pickerington Food pantry at the Merry Mile's registration table.
Area residents can donate new and gently used winter clothing items such as mittens, sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves and ear muffs by decorating the annual Dorothy Steiger Mitten Tree, located in the City Hall lobby.
The Pickerington Area Girl Scouts kick off the event by holding a Mitten Tree lighting ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7.
Donations can be made up until Dec. 18, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.
"Dorothy Steiger passed away in 2005," Sawyer said.
"She was a long-time resident and passionate community advocate. She actually founded the first Mitten Tree with the Violet Grange and the city is carrying on her vision.
"All donations will go to the families (served) by Fairfield County Job and Family Services," Sawyer said.