The city of Upper Arlington will kick off its annual celebration of the holiday season with three traditional events, including the Winter Festival and tree-lighting ceremony on Nov. 30.
In keeping with recent tradition, the Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Department is gearing up for the holiday season by lining up multiple appearances by Santa Claus and hosting a variety of seasonal activities.
Back by popular demand this year are Santa's Mailbox, the annual Winter Festival and tree-lighting ceremony and Brunch with Santa.
According to city officials, Santa's Mailbox will accept Christmas lists from local youngsters from Nov. 23 to Dec. 14. The mailbox will be located in the Kenny Road parking lot of the Upper Arlington Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road.
Children who deliver letters to Santa via his UA mailbox can receive a letter from Santa himself, directly from the North Pole, said James Gant, recreation superintendent for the Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Department.
"If they put in a non-affixed, 45-cent stamp, Santa will be sure to send them a response letter," Gant said.
He also noted that parents or children who wish to have Christmas lists returned to them can do so by also including a self-addressed stamped envelope.
"This is the first year they can have the lists sent back to them," he said. "Santa gets many letters and calls to get those letters back each year."
While Santa is busy rounding up gifts for those who've been nice, everyone in the community can ring in the holiday during the annual Winter Festival and Community Tree-Lighting Ceremony, slated for 6 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 30 in Mallway Park on Arlington Avenue.
"There are visits with Santa and we have a live reindeer display," Gant said. "We have horsedrawn carriage rides around South Arlington, and we have an ice sculptor ... There are also small bonfires where people can make s'mores throughout the night."
The Winter Festival will be presided over by WBNS-10TV's Kurt Ludlow, who will serve as the event's emcee, and will feature holiday music and carols performed by Windermere Elementary School fourth-graders, the Liddlers and Bel Canto Choir.
Gant said the annual community tree-lighting ceremony, to be led this year by Upper Arlington Mayor Frank Ciotola, will take place at 7:30 p.m.
For those still wishing to visit with Santa or celebrate the holidays early, the annual Brunch with Santa will be held Dec. 1 at the Amelita Mirolo Barn in Sunny 95 Park.
Brunch with Santa offers buffet brunches from 9 to 10:15 a.m., 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Attendees can visit with Santa and have their pictures taken with him. However, Gant encouraged those wishing to participate to register as soon as possible on the city's website, uaoh.net.
"It's such a popular event -- we have multiple times so we can accommodate as many people as possible," Gant said. "It fills up fast, and we've already been taking registration for a couple of days."
Additional information about each holiday event can be found on the city's website, or by calling 614-583-5300.