By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Just when you thought West Jefferson’s Garrette Park couldn’t look more festive for Christmas, organizers of Christmas in the Park for 2013 have turned it up another notch.
“We will have about 400,000 lights this year,” said Carol Beachy, event coordinator. That’s up from last year’s 300,000 lights.
The lights cover everything at the park, from trees to buildings. Santa will officially flip the switch to turn on the display during opening weekend festivities set for Dec. 13-15, after which the park will remain lit at night through Jan. 1.
Highlights of opening weekend include:
Parade of Lights
Anyone can participate in the Parade of Lights set for Dec. 14. All participants are requested to have lighting of some sort. Line-up starts at 4:30 p.m. in the American Legion parking lot, 9701 W. Broad St. The parade steps off at 5:30 and travels into West Jefferson, continuing on Main Street to South Twin Street, then left onto Fellows Avenue and right into Garrette Park. Anyone interested in having a Christmas or winter-themed float in the parade, or simply walking in the parade, should contact Sandy Boucher at (614) 879-9662.
Pictures with Santa and Toy Giveaway
Santa will be available all weekend to hear children’s Christmas wishes in the Santa House and pose for pictures. Bring your own camera or, for $3, have your picture taken.
Additionally, every child who visits Santa will receive a ticket for the toy giveaway, which will take place at 8:15 p.m. Dec. 15. Entrants must be present at the drawing to win.
Craft Station and Kids’ Activities
Each night of opening weekend, volunteers will offer a different take-home craft project in the Gingerbread House. The crafts are geared toward children ages 4 to 14 years old.
Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library is back with a variety of Christmas-themed games: wreath toss, present stacking, ice fishing (for which you can earn a coupon for half-off a hot cocoa), and knock-over-the-Grinch. Library staffers also will read Christmas-themed stories in the Santa House.
Business Scavenger Hunt
The West Jefferson Business Council, West Jefferson Community Association and Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library are sponsoring a scavenger hunt. It started Nov. 29 and runs through Dec. 13.
Pick up a scavenger hunt sheet at participating businesses and help Santa find his lost items. Find at least 10 items and return your sheet to the library or submit it at Christmas in the Park. Winners will be announced Dec. 15.
Participating business are: At The Buzzer, Bambino’s Pizza, Country Table Restaurant, Dream Tan, First Merit Bank, Flyer’s Pizza, Gateway Shoppes of West Jefferson, Huntington Bank, Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library, Larry B’s Meat & Cheese, Luxury Mills, McDonald’s, Midnight Creationz, Mike’s Pizza, Mustard Seed Cafe, Real Living Anders & Associates, Subway, Use It Again, Village Antiques Treasures & Gifts, West Jefferson Water Department, West Jefferson Animal Hospital and West Jefferson Hardware.
For more information, call Maria at The Mustard Seed, (614) 379-5057) or Marci at The Gateway Shoppes, (614) 379-5066).
Home Decorating Contest
In conjunction with Christmas in the Park, the West Jefferson Community Association holds a home decorating contest. Residents in the village of West Jefferson and Jefferson Township are eligible to enter.
Judging will take place Dec. 12-13. Entrants should leave their lights on from 5 to 10 p.m. those evenings. To have your home judged, call (614) 879-8818 or 879-9036 and leave a message with your name, address and phone number.
Winners will be recognized at 7:45 p.m. Dec. 13. Prizes are $100 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place. Honorable mention prizes also will be awarded.
Schedule of Events
Friday, Dec. 13
5 p.m. Opening ceremonies; Santa arrives; Lighting of the park; West Jefferson High School Choir and Jazz Band
5-10 p.m. Concessions
6-10 p.m. Pictures with Santa
11 p.m. Lights off
Saturday, Dec. 14
4:30 p.m. Parade line-up
5:30 p.m. Lighted parade
5:30-10 p.m. Concessions
After parade until 10 p.m. Pictures with Santa
7 p.m. Entertainment
11 p.m. Lights off
Sunday, Dec. 15
5:30 p.m. Lights on
5-8 p.m. Concessions
5:30-8:30 p.m. Pictures with Santa
8 p.m. Winners announced for house lighting, village gazebo family naming, and scavenger hunt contests
8:15 p.m. Toy giveaway
10 p.m. Lights off
Dec. 16-Jan. 1
5-10 p.m. Lights on at the park!
Directions to Garrette Park
Journey to West Jefferson via Route 40. Once in downtown, turn south on Walnut Street, which runs straight into the park.
Parking is available on surrounding streets. One option is the field behind the park; to get there, continue south on Walnut Street, which becomes Fellows Avenue, then look for the lot.
For more information, contact Carol Beachy at (614) 879-9036 or stop by West Jefferson Hardware, 228 E. Main St., during regular business hours.
For all of the details, go to the event’s new website at www.wjchristmaspark.org.