By Linda Dillman
Attention citizens of Canal Winchester! Hide your holiday presents and protect your Christmas trees. The Grinch is coming to town on Dec. 1 and will not leave until the following day.
It is time for Canal Winchester’s Christmas in the Village, held Dec. 1 and 2 in the city’s historic downtown.
This year the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society will turn its 10 W. Oak St. complex into a version of the Dr. Suess classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
Santa Claus arrives in town at 6 p.m. each night via a fire truck to help turn on tree lights in Stradley Place and then welcome little visitors to share their wish lists with him in the Interurban Depot.
“Last year we introduced an iceless skating rink, and it was a huge hit,” said Hannah Woodruff, Canal Winchester events and communication coordinator. “We’re bringing it back this year, but have made it bigger and better. Find it in the greenspace near the Christmas tree.”
Enjoy free popcorn served by the Labor Day Queen and her court, take a ride on a Christmas Trolley, watch artisans coax masterpieces out of ice, or pick up a handmade gift at a holiday bazaar.
Sites throughout downtown also play host to activities including a gingerbread house competition and children’s crafts; along with live reindeer, food trucks, and “The Grinch” movie playing inside Hiii on South High Street.
“Visitors looking for a quick bite can stop by one of the food trucks located in the parking lot behind City Hall and the DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area) will be in effect this year for the first time,” said Woodruff.
Patrons age 21 and older may purchase an alcoholic beverage from a bar/restaurant, then sip, stroll, shop, and explore within the DORA. Only beverages purchased and served from an establishment within the DORA are permitted. No outside alcohol is allowed. No alcohol is permitted in city buildings.
A short walk down North High Street is the historical society’s three-building complex where visitors young and old alike can delight in a meet and greet with the Grinch, a bubble tunnel Grinch’s Lair, Grinchtastic Game Show, Grinchy Green Snow cones, and a light show.
A handbell choir will perform each night. The Queen of the Line Depot will be open and train displays will run throughout the evening. Kid’s crafts, vendor booths, a hot chocolate bar, and cookie sale are also part of the activities.
“This will be society’s third year celebrating Storybook Christmas,” said society secretary Jill Amos. “We are thankful for the continued partnership with the city of Canal Winchester for their Christmas in the Village celebration. This year we will have a very fun Grinch-themed light show that will play to music as well as a very well-lit historical complex. This show was sponsored by a grant from South Central Power, and private donations from Abbott Electric and Buckeye Automotive.”
The light show is choreographed in coordination with music from a special radio station that runs the entire month of December.
A historical society committee comprised of 15 members starts planning for the December event in March. Amos said each member plays an important role in choosing the theme, creating the stations, and ownership in the magic.
“We rely on each other to help complete tasks or to look for possible solutions or leads,” Amos said. “This team is an incredible group of individuals who love to create magic. On average it takes over 75 volunteers to put this event together. While the society is strongly dedicated to preserving our past, we realize that today is tomorrow’s history and we need to play a valuable part in creating magical memories for families.”
Christmas in the Village is free, open from 6-9 p.m. and annually draws over 1,000 visitors each night. South High Street between Waterloo and Columbus streets will be closed during the festival. Towing Path and Warehouse Alley will also be closed for safety reasons.
Additional roadways will be closed temporarily during the parade. There are public parking lots near Stradley Park, the municipal pool and behind the municipal building, but fill up quickly. Street parking is also an option.
“Christmas in the Village has become a family tradition for so many visitors,” said Woodruff. “Although several of the activities can be found year after year, the city is excited to offer new attractions to keep visitors coming back for more. It is also a great opportunity for us to partner with other groups and organizations to provide a free, fun activity for the community. It’s not often you can do so much without paying a buck, and we are happy to provide that to our residents.”