West Jefferson Christmas in the Park a feast for the senses

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Large crowds are always on hand for Christmas in the Park. They wander the grounds, enjoying music, food, activities and, of course, the lights.

(Posted Dec. 5, 2019)

West Jefferson’s Christmas in the Park is set for Dec. 13-15.

Schedule of events
Friday, Dec. 13
5 p.m. Concessions open

6 p.m. Opening ceremonies
Santa arrives and turns on the lights
West Jeff High School jazz band & chamber choir

6-9 p.m. Santa’s workshop
Carriage rides
Holiday games
Train rides for kids
Crafts

6-9:30 p.m. Visit with Santa

11 p.m. Lights off

Saturday, Dec. 14
4:30 p.m. Parade line-up at American Legion

5 p.m. Concessions open

5:30 p.m. Parade of Lights

6-9 p.m. Santa’s workshop
Holiday games
Carriage rides
Entertainment
Train rides for kids
Crafts

6-10 p.m. Visit with Santa

11 p.m. Lights off

Sunday, Dec. 15
5 p.m. Lights on

5-7:30 p.m. Entertainment

5-8 p.m. Concessions open, carriage rides

5-9 p.m. Visit with Santa

6-8 p.m. Crafts

8:15 p.m. Home decorating contest winners announcement;
Children’s toy giveaway – tickets given to children
on Sunday night (must be present to win)

11 p.m. Lights off

Monday, Dec. 16-Monday, Jan. 1
6-10 p.m. Lights on at the park!

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Kennedy and Tate Converse share their wish lists with Santa at last year’s Christmas in the Park. Santa will be available once again to visit with children each night of this year’s celebration.

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Anyone who has attended West Jefferson’s Christmas in the Park knows what a delight it is for all of the senses.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration, volunteers spend countless hours testing and hanging 400,000 lights on every shrub, tree and structure in Garrette Park. When Santa flips the switch to signal the start of the festivities, the result is a feast for the eyes.

Three days of carriage rides, live music, food, and children’s activities, along with a lighted parade, house decorating contest, and toy giveaway captivate all of the senses–from sight and sound to touch, taste and smell.

“We hope everyone can come out and experience this magical, family-friendly event,” said Brenda Blanton, one of the event organizers.

New this year are train rides for kids. The train’s cars are fashioned from large drums, cut open and turned on their sides, painted and outfitted with seats. The cars are all connected. Passengers will wind through the festival grounds.

This and all of the other activities associated with the celebration are a labor of love for a dedicated group of volunteers.

“Without all the volunteers in the community and the generous donations, Christmas in the Park could not happen,” Blanton said.

This marks the 24th year for the event. Festivities are set for Dec. 13-15. Once the weekend festivities are over, the park will remain lit from 6 to 10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 1.

Highlights of opening weekend are as follows:

Parade of Lights

Anyone can participate in the parade of lights on Dec. 14. All entries should include lighting of some kind. 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. For more information, call 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 photos. Bring your own camera and take as many photos as you like, or take advantage of the on-site photographer. The first photo is free; additional photos are $5 each, with a limit of three photos.

Skip the wait in line to see Santa by leaving your name and phone number at the Santa House when you arrive at the park. Organizers will send a text when it’s your turn to visit Santa.

On Dec. 15, event organizers will give tickets to children ages 12 and younger for a toy giveaway. Toy distribution will start at 8:15 p.m. Entrants must be present at the drawing to win.

Horse-drawn carriage rides are always a big attraction at Christmas in the Park.

Craft Station, Stories, Carriage Rides

Children are invited to visit the shelter house to make a variety of crafts throughout the weekend, and each night, volunteers will read Christmas-themed stories in the Santa House.

Teachers from the West Jefferson middle school and high school will man the horse and carriage ride station at the Gingerbread House. Skip the wait in line for a ride by leaving your name and phone number with organizers when you arrive at the park. They will send a text when it’s your turn to ride.

Home Decorating Contest

A home decorating contest is held in conjunction with Christmas in the Park. Residents of the village of West Jefferson and Jefferson Township are eligible to enter.

Judging will take place Dec. 8-13. Entrants must leave their lights on from 6 to 10 p.m. those nights. Winners will be notified on Dec. 15; cash prizes will be presented at 8:15 p.m.

Two categories are offered this year: “Clark Griswold,” which looks for excessive use of lighting and decoration; and “Norman Rockwell”, which looks for more traditional, nostalgic decoration. First, second and honorable mention prizes will be awarded in each category.

For more information about any part of the event, go to wjchristmaspark.org.

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: 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.

Website: www.wjchristmaspark.org

Contact information: For details about any part of Christmas in the Park, call the West Jefferson Community Association’s Ox Box number, (614) 879-8818, and leave a message.

Donations: Christmas in the Park is an all-volunteer organization. Donations help to offset the cost of replacement lights, electricity and other expenses. Organizers hope to replace the current Santa House with a new one next year. Make donations out to “Christmas in the Park” and mail to P.O. Box 262, West Jefferson, OH 43162.

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