West Jefferson is getting in the holiday spirit with its 22nd Annual Christmas in the Park. It will be held Friday, Dec. 8, Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10 at Garrette Park in West Jefferson. Hours of operation will be from 5:30-11 p.m. Friday, 6-11 p.m. Saturday and 6-10 p.m. Sunday.
In 1995, the first year of the event, the park display featured about 30,000 lights, hand painted cut out figurines, a storage shed which served as the Santa house, a tent with hot chocolate and cookies and carriage rides. This year’s display will feature 300,000 lights, a heated Santa House, a parade and concessions.
“This event is done entirely by donations,” said Carol Beachy, President of the West Jefferson Christmas at the Park organization. “We’re local citizens that try to make this happen every year.”
Santa will be arriving at 5:45 p.m. Friday to help with the lighting of the park. Santa will then retire to the Santa house at 6 p.m. for visits, pictures and to listen to last minute Christmas wishes.
“When people come to visit Santa, they can leave their number and we can text them and let them know when it’s their turn,” Beachy said. “Your first picture with Santa is free. If people take more than that we do ask they pay an additional $3.”
They will also be using the same method for the carriage ride which are free to the public, but donations are accepted. While you wait, enjoy the lights, ride the carriage, visit the Santa’s Workshop, get some hot food in the Shelter House, play games provided by the Hurt/Battelle Memorial Library staff and stay warm by the fire.
The old shelter house has been remodeled with a built-in kitchen that serves homemade chicken and noodles, homemade chili, hot chocolate, coffee, and cookies. Hot dogs help to round out the menu. The same cut out figurines are still used. There are lights that tower to 60 feet in the two acre park in the heart of West Jefferson. Most of the electric that is used to power the lights has been placed underground.
The Christmas Parade of Lights will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Line-up will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the American Legion parking lot. The Parade of Lights will snake its way through town on Saturday. Starting at the American Legion Hall, 9701 W. Broad St., the parade will head west down Main Street, then turn onto Twin Street and Fellows Avenue before ending at Garrette Park.
Anyone interested in having a Christmas or winter theme float in the parade should contact Sandy Boucher at 614-879-9662.
The schedule of events are:
Friday, Dec. 8
5 p.m. — Concessions open
6 p.m. — Opening ceremonies
6 p.m. — Santa arrives and turns on the lights
6 p.m. — Live music by West Jefferson High School Jazz Band/Choir
6-9:30 p.m. — Visit with Santa
6-9 p.m. — Santa’s workshop, holiday games
6-9 p.m. — Carriage rides
11 p.m. — Lights off
Saturday, Dec. 9
4:30 p.m. — Parade line-up at American Legion
5:30 p.m. — Parade of lights
5 p.m. — Concession opens
6-10 p.m. — Visit with Santa
6-9 p.m. — Santa’s Workshop, Holiday Games
6-9 p.m. — Carriage Rides
6-9 p.m. — Entertainment
11 p.m. — Lights off
Sunday, Dec. 10
5 p.m. — Lights turned on
5-8 p.m. — Concessions open
5-9 p.m. — Visit with Santa
5-8 p.m. — Carriage rides
5- 7:30 p.m. — Entertainment
8:15 p.m. — Home decorating contest winners announced; Children’s toy give-a-way (must be present to win), tickets given to the children on Sunday evening