The holiday season kicks into high gear Friday, Dec. 2, with the annual Christmas-tree lighting at Frank Fetch Park.

The holiday season kicks into high gear Friday, Dec. 2, with the annual Christmas-tree lighting at Frank Fetch Park.

Sponsored by the German Village Garten Club and Friends of Frank Fetch Park, the event offers German Village residents an opportunity to sip hot mulled cider and hot chocolate, nibble on cookies, sing along to Christmas music and bask in the glory of the 40-foot fir festooned with thousands of lights.

The gathering begins at 7 p.m. at the park on Beck Street, between Fifth and Sixth streets. The tree lighting will be held following a visit by Pelsnickle of German folklore and Santa.

Real-estate agents Jeff Ruff and Marilyn Vutech and their staff have decorated the park since 2001. The city’s recreation and parks department adorns the tree with lights, owned by the garden club.

“We welcome the whole village to join their neighbors and friends for a wonderful German Village tradition,” said Jerry Glick, a member of the garden club and park group.

Then, Village Lights makes its return from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. Thousands of luminaria will light up neighborhood streets and Schiller Park.

A new feature this year is the Striezelmarkt, which will feature nine businesses and a Columbus Bicentennial 2012 representative. The Striezelmarkt will be held in front of the Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St.

Because most of the retail activity is clustered on South Third, Kossuth and Jaeger streets, the German Village Business Community decided to establish the Striezelmarkt to give outlying stores a chance to participate.

“It gives people who are off the beaten path an opportunity to be in the thick of things,” said organizer and participant Betty Garrett, owner of Garrett Hospitality Group, a company that specializes in planning meeting and events.

Village Lights will feature 49 businesses, many of which will offer free refreshments, discounts and live entertainment.

Also this weekend, the Actors’ Theatre of Columbus will revive its Madrigal Dinner, a Renaissance-era event that will combine acting, music and food. The dinner will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Meeting Haus.

Some tickets for the dinner still are available. They can be purchased for $70 each at

“We’re going to have a wonderful evening of music and madrigal traditions and have a chance to announce our upcoming summer season,” said John S. Kuhn, artistic director of the German Village-based troupe.