By Rick Palsgrove
The city of Groveport is expanding its annual holiday event to two days this year and also holding it in a new location.
For the past several years in early December Santa Claus has arrived in downtown Groveport for an evening of celebration. While there he lit the city’s Christmas tree and visited with kids at Groveport Town Hall.
This year’s holiday celebration is called “A Heritage Holiday,” and will include the tree lighting, Santa’s visit, and other festivities to be held on Dec. 1 from 6:30-8 p.m. and Dec. 2 from 1-6 p.m. in Groveport’s Heritage Park, 551 Wirt Road. Santa Claus will be on hand to visit with kids on Dec. 1 from 6:30–8 p.m. and Dec. 2 from 2-6 p.m.
“The one day event was getting too large for Town Hall,” said Groveport Community Affairs Director Patty Storts. “Town Hall is not set up to handle such a large crowd in a short period of time.”
Added Groveport Recreation Director Kyle Lund, “The event was also expanded to two days so that parents and their children could have more available time to meet and visit with Santa.”
Storts said she and Lund both felt there were a lot of Santa themed events scheduled for the first weekend of December.
“So we decided to work together and combine our ideas and make it a two day event with more activities at Heritage Park,” said Storts.
Storts said Heritage Park is a good place for the holiday event.
“Heritage Park is what Groveport is all about,” said Storts. “I think Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and Groveport is very proud to have a beautiful place like Heritage Park. Decorating the log house, the old split rail fence, the new official tree to light at Christmas, and all other trees in the park, will give this year’s holiday the feel of an old time Christmas event. Even though Groveport is a city, Heritage Park is what keeps Groveport feeling like the hometown we continue to hold on to.”
“ Santa will be able to meet and visit with children inside the historic log house, which should make for wonderful photos,” said Lund. “Heritage Park provides a ‘hometown feel’ for the event. City staff will also be illuminating many trees in the park to give the park a more festive look.”
Lund said the other site option was Groveport Park, which has plenty of parking, but lacked a private area for Santa to meet with the children, does not have many mature trees in close setting for lights and lacks sufficient electricity to power the holiday lights.
The city’s new Christmas tree that Santa will light this year is a tree that was recently planted at the corner inside the fence at the entrance of Heritage Park.
“A Heritage Holiday” will also include: Dec. 1: holiday music performed by the Groveport Madison High School Band, tree lighting, ice carving, visits with Santa; Dec. 2: carols sung by the Groveport Madison High School Choir, live reindeer, kids craft, farm animals, bounce house, and Santa visits. There will be refreshments both days.
“What I like the most is how excited the children are to visit Santa,” said Mayor Lance Westcamp. “This is another great event the city of Groveport gives back to our community. I feel the addition of reindeer and the fun events planned for Saturday will be great for the kids.”
Other holiday events
The Groveport Recreation Center, 7370 Groveport Road, will host its annual Lunch With Santa on Dec. 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Kids can have their photo taken with Santa, sing holiday carols, listen to Santa read a story, participate in a coloring contest and more. Tickets are $6 per person and are on sale at the Groveport Recreation Center through Nov. 28.
You may also visit Santa at the Groveport Recreation Center’s indoor pool on Dec. 17 from 4-6 p.m. Grab your swim suit, towel and camera and take a dip in the heated pool. Tickets are $6 per person and are on sale at the Groveport Recreation Center through Dec. 15. All persons entering the pool deck must be registered.
“Non-residents and non-members of the Groveport Recreation Center are always welcome to participate in our programs,” said Lund.
“Merry Fitness is also happening through the end of the year at the Groveport Recreation Center,” said Lund.
He said people who purchase an annual pass to the GRC by the end of the year, can receive one of the following gifts from the city: free month (13 months for the price of 12); four day passes to either the Groveport Recreation Center or Groveport Aquatic Center; or one round of golf at the The Links At Groveport.
For information on the Groveport Recreation Center, visit www.groveportrec.com.