Grove City's Town Center again will be holiday central when the city holds its Christmas Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Those who choose only to attend the community parade will miss a day full of holiday activities.

"It's all set up to provide families with all kinds of things to do in and around downtown," Grove City recreation superintendent Kelly Sutherland said. "You can start in the morning and go nonstop until nighttime. It's a long day, but it's a fun day."'

The Christmas Celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Town Center.

The festivities will culminate with the parade at 7 p.m., with the route winding through the Town Center along Wilbur Avenue, Columbus Street, Broadway and Park Street.

"Anyone who wants to see Santa in the parade shouldn't wait on Park," Sutherland said. "He'll be getting off the parade route at Broadway and Park to light the community tree" in the George Edge Music Park.

The parade will feature an array of floats and bands, all lit up with holiday lights.

The day's activities will begin with a public breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Grove City Masonic Lodge, 3558 Park St.

The lodge will serve eggs made to order, hash browns, Belgian waffles, pancakes, bacon, sausage, toast, biscuits, gravy, coffee, milk, tea and juice. Donations will be accepted and will be used to help fund lodge activities and charities.

Christmas traditions include gift giving, and residents will be able to get much of their holiday shopping completed while attending the celebration, Sutherland said.

"With the revitalization we've seen in the downtown area, there are so many retail businesses now selling unique gift items," she said.

The annual Mistletoe Market will offer gift items, decorations, artwork and treats.

The market will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in City Hall, 4035 Broadway; Plum Run Winery/Grove City Brewing Co., 3946 Broadway; and many Town Center businesses.

Children will be able to purchase gifts at the Secret Santa shop that will be open throughout the day at the Grove City Museum & Welcome Center, 3378 Park St.

The museum will stage a holiday exhibition throughout December, with vintage toys, greeting cards, Christmas decorations and a model train on display.

"The train is really part of a three-level display, with the train on the first level, a town village at Christmastime on the second level and a depiction of a winter scene in a rural farm community on top," said Don Ivers, the welcome center and museum's visitor guide and host.

"Most kids these days don't get exposed to model trains like people my age did when we were kids," he said.

"I love seeing their eyes light up when they come into the museum and see our model train running around the track."

The exhibition will be on view during regular museum hours, which are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. The museum is open until 8 p.m. Thursdays.

The Southwest Franklin County Historical Society and Grove City Parks and Recreation will hold an open house and bus tour from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at the visitor center and museum; Grant-Sawyer Home, 4126 Haughn Road; and Century Village, 1185 Orders Road.

Three buses will run continuous loops picking up and dropping off visitors at each location from 1 to 4:30 p.m., Ivers said.

"You can park your car at one of the sites, then hop on the bus to visit the other two locations," he said.

The restored barn at the Grant-Sawyer Home will feature a display of farm implements and Century Village will be decorated in the style of the mid-19th century, with costumed volunteers greeting visitors, the blacksmith and tinsmith plying their trades and guests visiting Santa and enjoying holiday treats.

The Grove City Chamber Singers will perform at 2 p.m. at the Grant-Sawyer Home, then travel to the schoolhouse at Century Village for another performance of Christmas carols.

Holiday entertainment will be offered at the stage on Park Street west of Broadway, including Signs of Christmas, promoting deaf/hard of hearing awareness, at 4:30 p.m.; the Grove City High School Choir at 5 p.m.; Central Crossing High School Choir at 5:30 p.m. and the Grove City Christian School Choir at 6 p.m.

Children will be able to meet Santa from 2 to 6:30 p.m. in the George Edge Music Park. Parents can take their own photographs or receive a print for a $5 contribution to Twig 184 benefitting Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Live reindeer will be on display at the corner of Arbutus Avenue and Park Street, and an ice sculptor will be at work at Jackson Street and Broadway.

Although the display portraying scenes from "The Nutcracker" ballet will be up in the front window at City Hall, the automated display will not be in motion this year, Sutherland said.

"There's a lot of wear and tear each year setting the display up and taking it down and the pieces are just getting worn out," she said.

The exhibition at the welcome center and museum will include displays from "The Nutcracker," Sutherland said.

"The Town Center is the perfect location for our Christmas Celebration," she said. "All we can do is cross our fingers for good weather."

Residents can receive text notifications regarding the event as well as safety, traffic, event information throughout the year with the city's text alert system by texting GCALERT to 888-777.

More information is available at grovecityohio.gov.

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