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The original article can be found at http://www.thisweeknews.com/live/content/westerville/stories/2008/11/19/1120wvholiday_ln.html?sid=104

Holiday season begins in Uptown Westerville Dec. 5-7

ThisWeek Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 1:48 PM

Westerville's Uptown merchants are preparing for the city's annual Holiday Festival to take place Dec. 5-7.

Festivities begin at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 with the annual tree-lighting ceremony at the Municipal Building courtyard, 21 S. State St. The Westerville Community Band will start the evening with holiday tunes at 6:45 p.m., and a Celebrate Westerville time capsule ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. The time capsule will be buried in the flower garden where the holiday tree will stand, along with a 1976 time capsule created for the nation's bicentennial.

After the tree-lighting, Santa Claus will arrive by fire engine and take the stage, before passing out treats at the corner of College and State streets. The ceremony will also include performances by the Otterbein Kinderchor and the Westerville North High School Notables.

The Westerville Bobbies, police officers in historic uniforms, will walk throughout Uptown. Free carriage rides will be offered from 7-10 p.m.

Children can watch a movie, puppet show, see toy trains, have their faces painted, visit Santa Claus and a gift shop. The Snowflake Castle takes place at the senior center, 310 W. Main St. Admission is $2 per person or $3 for a photo with Santa.
One new event this year is a secret Santa hosted by Gallery 202 Partners in Art. Gallery owner Renee Kropat said children will be able to pick out items at the gallery ranging in price from $2 to $20.

"We're going to try something different this year. The Secret Santa will be open to families and their kids, and we're asking other stores in Uptown to participate by donating items or other products," Kropat said. "There will be kid-friendly jewelry, cards, small framed art pieces, sweatshirts and other gifts."

The holiday celebration will continue on Saturday, Dec. 6, with the Wild Women Wander Westerville holiday tour. As part of the tour, the first 150 women to visit more than a dozen Uptown shops will receive charms. Saturday will also include the Westerville Christmas Spectacular concert, with performances at 2 and 7 p.m. at Westerville Central High School, 7118 Mount Royal Ave., and a children's concert at 11:30 a.m.

Capping off the weekend on Sunday will be the annual Westerville Children's Christmas Parade, beginning at 1 p.m.

The parade will run along State Street from Heatherdown Drive to County Line Road. Kropat said organizers hope to collect food and money for the Westerville Area Resource Ministry (WARM). The theme of this year's parade is "Warm Your Heart This Christmas."

A food and money drive will also be held during the parade to help Westerville Caring & Sharing.

During the weekend, and on Dec. 2, there will be a Christmas Open House at the Hanby House, 160 W. Main St., from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, and 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The open house will include refreshments, special music and a guest sing-along.

More information can be found at www.uptownmerchants.com.





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