West Jefferson Christmas in the Park: Highlights and schedule of events

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Horse-drawn carriage rides are always a hit with Christmas in the Park visitors.

(Posted Dec. 7, 2018)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

West Jefferson’s signature Christmas celebration, now in its 23rd year, is poised to sparkle just as brightly as ever.

For weeks, volunteers have been testing and hanging hundreds of strands of lights in the trees at Garrette Park. On Dec. 14, Santa will flip a switch to bring 400,000 twinkling lights to life and signal the start of Christmas in the Park.

Three days of carriage rides, Santa visits, live music, food, and children’s activities are planned, along with a lighted parade, house decorating contest, and toy giveaway.

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, Dec. 14-16, are as follows:

Parade of Lights

Anyone can participate in the parade of lights on Dec. 15. 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.

Santa will be available all weekend to hear children’s Christmas wishes in the Santa House.

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 $3 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. 16, event organizers will give tickets to children ages 12 and younger for a toy giveaway. Toy distribution will start at 8 p.m. Entrants (or their parents) must be present at the drawing to win.

Craft Station, Stories & Carriage Rides

Children are invited to visit the Gingerbread 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. 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.

West Jefferson High School students will be among the performers providing live music during Christmas in the Park in West Jefferson.

Home Decorating Contest

In conjunction with Christmas in the Park, the West Jefferson Community Association holds a home decorating contest. Residents of the village of West Jefferson and Jefferson Township are eligible to enter.

Judging will take place Dec. 11-14. Entrants must leave their lights on from 6 to 9 p.m. those nights. Winners will be notified on Dec. 16; cash prizes will be presented at 8 p.m.

Two special categories are offered this year: “Clark Grizwold,” which looks for excessive use of lighting and decoration; and “Norman Rockwell”, which looks for more traditional, nostalgic decoration.

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

Visit www.wjchristmaspark.org.

Contact information

Call Carol Beachy at (614) 879-9036 or stop by West Jefferson Hardware, 228 E. Main St., during regular business hours

Donations

Christmas in the Park is an all-volunteer organization. Donations help to offset the cost of replacement lights, electricity and other expenses. Make donations out to “Christmas in the Park” and mail to P.O. Box 262, West Jefferson, OH 43162.

Schedule of events

Friday, Dec. 14

5 p.m.                  Concessions open

6 p.m.                  Opening ceremonies, Santa arrives and turns on the lights, music by West Jefferson High School jazz band and choir

6-9 p.m.               Santa’s workshop, carriage rides, facepainting

6-9 p.m.               Music by West Jefferson High School music debarment

6-9:30 p.m.         Visit with Santa

11 p.m.               Lights off

Saturday, Dec. 15

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, facepainting

6-9 p.m.               Tim Castle and The Southern Rock Band performs

6-10 p.m.             Visit with Santa

11 p.m.                Lights off

Sunday, Dec. 16

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.               Paul Turner performs live music

6-8 p.m.               Facepainting

8 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. 17-Monday, Jan. 1

6-10 p.m.             Lights on at the park!

 

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