By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport’s Heritage Park will soon be decked out in holiday lights and trimmings in anticipation of the arrival of Santa Claus.
“Trees in the park will be decorated with lights, there will be Christmas figurines, and floating trees on Palm Pond,” said Groveport Community Affairs Director Patty Storts.
The city’s traditional Christmas festival, “A Heritage Holiday,” will be held Nov. 30 from 6:30–8 p.m. and Dec. 1 from noon to 3 p.m. in Heritage Park, 551 Wirt Road.
Santa Claus will arrive at Heritage Park on a Madison Township fire truck at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 and at noon on Dec. 1. Kids can visit with Santa in the log house both days.
Santa Claus and Mayor Lance Westcamp will light the city’s Christmas tree in Heritage Park at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 30
“I am really glad we moved the event to Heritage Park,” said Westcamp. “Not only can we showcase our beautiful park, but we have more room for other activities and we keep the children off of busy main street. My favorite part is the arrival of Santa Claus.”
Other activities at the event include: on Nov. 30 – ice carving where children may take a block of ice home with their name carved into it, a children’s craft station, horse drawn carriage rides around Palm Pond, and refreshments. On Dec. 1 – a petting zoo, live reindeer, a bounce house, horse drawn carriage rides, and refreshments.
Holiday music at “A Heritage Holiday” will be performed by the Groveport Madison High School band on Nov. 30 and a DJ on Dec. 1.
“This event begins the holiday season and it is a time that brings everyone closer together,” said Storts. “Groveport is a great community and during the holiday season the city’s residents and businesses are very generous in giving back to the community by helping those in need. Heritage Park is the representation of Groveport and the heart of Groveport.”
Groveport Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Lund said “A Heritage Holiday” is designed to bring people of all ages together to celebrate the holiday season.
“Three departments – Community Affairs, Parks & Facilities and Recreation – are responsible for planning and administering the second year event,” said Lund. “Hopefully this free two-day gathering allows adults to relax and enjoy the company of neighbors and for kids to make holiday memories. The holidays can be stressful for some, ‘A Heritage Holiday’ can take you back to a time when things were simpler.”
Lund said Heritage Park is a great location for the event.
“Many people in the surrounding neighborhoods can walk to the park,” said Lund. “The log house provides a great place for the children to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The shelter house provides a place for small warming fires and some wind break. The trail around Palm Pond is perfect for carriage rides. The beauty of the grounds is another positive attribute.”
Recreation center holiday event
The Groveport Recreation Center, 7370 Groveport Road, will host Lunch with Santa on Dec. 9 from 1-3 p.m. Register by Dec. 3. For information contact Juli Pintz at 614-836-1000 ext. 1513 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Activities will include photo with Santa (bring your own camera), singing holiday carols, story time, coloring contest and more. Tickets are $6 per person and are on sale at the Groveport Recreation Center.
Lund said Lunch with Santa is one of his favorite programs.
“It brings multiple communities together in a relaxed atmosphere,” said Lund. “The event has attracted folks from Groveport, Canal Winchester, Lithopolis, Bloom Township, Carroll, Obetz, Pickerington and Reynoldsburg. This is event is very social in nature. Our staff loves interacting with the families and seeing the giant smiles on children’s faces when they see Santa and Mrs. Claus. The holiday music at the event really gets you in the spirit.”
Lund noted that another past holiday event, Swim with Santa, will not be offered this year due to declining attendance.
Lund said the Groveport Recreation Center will be decorated with some exterior lights and wreaths. On the inside, Lund said, the recreation center and senior center will both decorate a tree. Garland will be strung and holiday-themed inflatables will be up in the building and more.
“Groveport is truly a special place,” said Lund. “Where else do towns of 5,000 people have such an array of leisure programs and recreational amenities for its residents?”