Carriage rides through Olde Reynoldsburg, carolers singing songs of the season, holiday crafts, free cookies, even karaoke -- all will be featured at Christmas on the Towne this year.
Sponsored by the Reynoldsburg Community Association, the festivities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, include merchant open houses on East Main Street from Lancaster Avenue to Waggoner Road and Jackson Avenue to Broadwyn Drive, said Susan Brusk, who coordinates the event with Mary Hudson.
"Christmas on the Towne kicks off the holiday season in Reynoldsburg and is always a festive, fun day," Brusk said. "I really enjoy the happy faces on all the kids."
She and Hudson have been co-chairwomen of the event for the past eight years.
Brusk said carriage rides would begin at 11 a.m. in front of Cotner Funeral Home, 7369 E. Main St.
"We are asking people to bring a donation of one nonperishable food item for each carriage ride," she said. "We are collecting again this year for Reynoldsburg Helping Hands Food Pantry."
Free refreshments, live music and karaoke, a balloon artist, magician and face painter will be set up inside Cotner's.
"Cotner's is always a beehive of activity and they usually screen a free holiday movie," Brusk said. "Kids also can play at Legoland there, in memory of Braxton Long."
Long was a Reynoldsburg student who was 8 years old when he died in July 2017. He collected Lego sets each year to give to children at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
Lion's Club members will be cooking and distributing free hot dogs, said Chuck Cochran, also a member of the Reynoldsburg Community Association.
"The Reynoldsburg Historical Society will be open to tour and people can listen to the Reynoldsburg High School Orchestra at the Masonic Lodge," he said.
He said Christmas on the Towne is one of the association's three big events each year. The other two are the Fourth of July parade and the community Halloween party.
Association members get together after the Halloween party to plan Christmas on the Towne, Cochran said.
Brusk said kids can go on a "treasure hunt" again this year, with maps available from merchants.
"Our treasure map has 27 stops on it and if the kids go to every one of the 27, they will get stamps on their map," she said. "If they leave their completed maps with the last merchant, then we will collect them and the kids will be eligible for prizes.
"All merchants up and down the street will be open," Brusk said. "They are giving away cookies, hot chocolate and other things - you can get a sugar rush at pretty much anywhere you go."
Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to town, with Santa setting up at the Masonic Lodge at Lancaster and Broadwyn and Mrs. Claus greeting people at the First Service Federal Credit Union at Waggoner Road and East Main Street.
"A Secret Santa Shop will be available at the New Antioch Bible Fellowship Church," Brusk said. "Kids can buy presents for Mom and Dad and family members at greatly reduced prices."
She said the historical Livingston House, 1792 Graham Road, will be open during the afternoon offering free tours and crafts for children.
Brusk said the Reynoldsburg Community Association was founded in 2007.
"Our hope was to bring to Reynoldsburg some events the city was not providing, that would improve the quality of the community," she said. "We try to sponsor events that are family-oriented and fun for everyone."