Santa Claus will help Westerville kick off its holiday season next week.

Santa Claus will help Westerville kick off its holiday season next week.

The city will have its annual tree-lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 in front of City Hall, 21 S. State St.

The event, sponsored by the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Westerville Department of Parks and Recreation, will feature a performance by students from Paige's Playhouse and the Westerville Community Band.

There will be a candle-lighting and a sing-along. Toward the end of the event, Santa Claus will arrive on a fire truck, say a few words and will linger until all interested children have had a chance to speak to him.

The 25-foot Christmas tree that will sit in front of City Hall this year was donated by the John Gilbert family and was cut from the family's yard on Wedgewood Court, said Laura Horton, who organizes the event for the city.

Continuing the holiday festivities, the Westerville Uptown Merchants Association has scheduled the annual Home for the Holidays Dec. 4.

During the event, Westerville shops and restaurants will have holiday-themed activities, such as decorating cookies, having tea with Mrs. Claus and writing letters to Santa. Some shops also will offer refreshments.

In addition to the sales and specials, Uptown merchants will sell an Uptown Westerville reusable shopping bag for $1.

The bag will be filled with coupons for Uptown businesses that will be redeemable throughout December.

Also during Home for the Holidays, there will be a "Decoration Station" from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 18 W. College Ave. where children will be able to decorate ornaments. The activity is free, but donations to the Westerville Area Resource Ministry (WARM) will be accepted.

From 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., the "Rock on Ice" ice sculptors will be work on the patio of Jimmy V's, 1 S. State St.

Sing Time Capital Showcase Chorus Quartet will stroll through Uptown singing holiday songs between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Santa also will roam through Uptown during the afternoon and will be available for impromptu pictures with children.

Uptown holiday events for the weekend will wrap up Dec. 5 with the annual Children's Christmas Parade, put on by Westerville Sertoma and Jaycees, which will travel through Uptown from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The Rudolph Run 5K will lead the parade. Runners will be provided with Rudolph noses and Santa hats.

For more information about the run, visit www.columbusrunning.com/timing/rudolphrun.