Visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, live musical performances and competitions for the best gingerbread house and tree decorations will be among the activities on tap for the Upper Arlington Public Library's annual Holiday Happiness celebration.
The main library, 2800 Tremont Road, will host its 41st annual Holiday Happiness on Dec. 1.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a plethora of activities for children and adults alike.
"It's probably our most popular event," said Christine Minx, library communications specialist. "Close to 3,000 people will come through our doors that day.
"It's an old-fashioned type of event and everything is free. It's traditional music, traditional displays."
The Holiday Happiness event, like all library programs, is sponsored by the Friends of the Upper Arlington Library.
"It's just a good time for the family," Minx said. "It is focused on kids, but adults come, too, and they enjoy the music and displays."
This year, many traditional activities will return, and a few new features have been added.
The festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. with an hour-long performance by the Jones Middle School Chamber Group.
The Upper Arlington Chorus will sing holiday songs from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., and guitarist Mark Reinhart and high school students from Vaughn Music Studios will perform at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
Children who attend the Holiday Happiness event can take part in make-it, take-it crafts and face painting in the library's children's department from 11 a.m. to noon. Children's Bingo also will be offered from 1 to 2 p.m.
Also for children, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for visits in the UAPL Friends Theatre. However, library officials noted those visits will take place from noon to 2 p.m. only.
"We look forward every year to seeing families come out decked out in their holiday clothes with big smiles," Minx said. "It's one of our staff's favorite events we put on every year."
In addition to the traditional children's activities, Holiday Happiness again this year will feature the Avenue of Trees, in which five local nonprofit organizations -- the Tri-Village Lions Club, the Tri-Village Rotary, the Upper Arlington Historical Society, the Barrington Parent-Teachers Organization and Brownie Troop 2065 -- will compete for the Patron's Choice blue ribbon for best-decorated Christmas tree.
Those trees will be on display at the library from Nov. 23 to Dec. 1, during which time library patrons can vote for their favorites. The winner will be announced at Holiday Happiness.
"They're trees on display right at the entrance of the (main) library," Minx said. "At 1 p.m. on Dec. 1, the voting for the trees will end.
"Any patron can vote which tree they like, but it's one vote per patron," she added. "We have a big blue ribbon that will be displayed on the winning tree for the rest of the holiday season."
Also new this year will be displays of gingerbread and graham cracker houses, as well as creations in the contest's "other" category. Families and adults this month will enter competitions to build those houses and other works of art, which will be displayed at the main library during the Dec. 1 event.
Celebrity judges Glenda Huffman of Huffman's Market, Steven Sims of Steven's Catering and WCMH-TV's Ben Gelber will choose the best constructions in each gingerbread and graham cracker category, and winners will be announced during Holiday Happiness.
Along with those activities, Holiday Happiness again this year will provide opportunities for local residents to provide gifts to children in need throughout Franklin County.
That program is offered by the library in partnership with the Franklin County Children's Services Holiday Wish program; library patrons can visit a Giving Tree at the front of the main library and select an ornament representing a child in need.
"The ornament will indicate if it's a boy or a girl, their ages and gifts they would like," Minx said. "Patrons can remove ornaments from the tree, buy that item and return it to any Upper Arlington library, unwrapped, by Dec. 10 with the (ornament) tag attached.
"The library then gives those gifts to Franklin County Children's Services, which distribute them to the children. Last year, our community was very generous and donated over 70 items."
A complete listing of Holiday Happiness activities, as well as all library seasonal programming, is available in the UAPL's Library Link publication and online at ualibary.org.