December 2015 Edition ©

Christmas Events & Holiday Fests

 roscoe lights

Ohio Christmas Events and Holiday Fests
plus other things to see and do this season

December Fests & Events

Plus destinations and activities in

Northeast Ohio

Southeast Ohio

Central Ohio

Northwest Ohio

Southwest Ohio

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Lights Before Christmas


It’s the 30th anniversary of Toledo Zoo’s Lights Before Christmas presented by KeyBank. This annual celebration has become “THE” holiday tradition in Toledo and northwest Ohio. The “Big Tree,” is an 85-foot Norway spruce decorated with more than 35,000 energy-saving LED bulbs illuminating the night sky.

Lights Before Christmas display features over one million lights and more than 200 illuminated animal images. Other traditions continuing at Lights this year include the Ice Slide with Winter Village, ice carvings, live animal encounters and, of course, Santa. New this year is the Talking Tree that leads a short holiday sing-along and more cold weather animals than ever before. It would not be Lights without the Zoo’s famous hot chocolate, homemade fudge and baked goods!

Lights Before Christmas will run until January 3, 2016. The display will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve night, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Hours of operation for Lights Before Christmas are 3-8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 3-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Zoo will close one hour after last admission to allow guests to finish their visit.

Toledo Zoo members receive free and unlimited Monday-Thursday Lights Before Christmas visits plus one free weekend visit. Visitors can save $1 per ticket by ordering online at toledozoo.org/lights.

Come enjoy all the season has to offer at the 30th anniversary of Lights Before Christmas presented by KeyBank at your Toledo Zoo!

The Zoo is normally open daily 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and is located on the Anthony Wayne Trail (US 25), four miles south of downtown Toledo. Hours of operation for Lights Before Christmas, presented by KeyBank are 3-8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 3-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, please visit toledozoo.org or call 419-385-4040. Lucas County residents are admitted free of charge on non-holiday Mondays from 10 a.m. – noon. Valid ID showing proof of residency is required.

One-of-a-Kind Old-time Christmas Gifts


A Piece of the Past that makes an Excellent Christmas Present!


If you truly want to get someone a unique Christmas gift, make a trip to the Amish superstore known as Lehman’s Hardware in Kidron, Ohio. It’s in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country. But don’t go on Sunday.

Founded by Jay Lehman in 1955 to serve the local hardware store for the Amish in northeast Ohio, Lehman’s stocks a huge selection of non-electric appliances, wood stoves, hand tools, old-fashioned kitchenware, toys and much more in its winding retail store, huge catalog and  e-commerce web site at www.Lehmans.com.

At Lehman’s, everything old is new again.

Lining the shelves are thousands of products, from tin toys to weather vanes to butter churns that you probably thought they quit making years ago. Where else are you going to find butter churns, cream separator and glass milk bottles? Or for that matter, copper kettles, cast iron cookware and a coal shovel?

If you like the attractive, practical appliances of yesteryear, then you’re going to love Lehman’s. This family-owned and operated business specializes in antique-styled appliances and retro home furnishings, non-electric kitchenware, old-time toys, hand tools, oil lamps, collectible cook books and much more.  If you think it isn’t made any more, call Lehman’s before you give up! After all, it’s where Hollywood comes to shop for just the right props for their sets.

Today, the expanded retail store features a buggy barn demonstration room, the Cast Iron Cafe serving soups, salads, sandwiches, drinks and desserts, and four reconstructed pre-Civil War era barns inside the retail space.

Ironically, what started out as a business to serve the local Amish has turned into an international operation, shipping products all over the world. Missionaries, survivalists, environmentalists, homesteaders, vacation home owners and the chronically nostalgic, as well as movie producers wanting to create an authentic scene, have made Lehman’s their low-tech superstore.

No one else is doing what Lehman’s does, on the scale that they do it.

The Kidron retail store is open every day except Sunday and is located four miles south of Rte. 30 between Wooster and Canton in northeast Ohio. Visit www.Lehmans.com for information about the store and its unique product line.

Home for the Holidays

This is a fun little story for anyone trying to make it home for Christmas …


It was just several weeks past basic training and my 18th birthday. I walked to the travel office at Fort Gordon, Georgia to book a bus to Cleveland, Ohio for Christmas. It would be my last chance to go home before I shipped off to Europe.

I congratulated myself for thinking months in advance to secure my passage home so that everything was set well ahead of time. No worries. But when the lady behind the window handed me my ticket, she had a peculiar smile. Something was off but by the time I walked back to the barracks and stuffed my ticket away, I had other things on my mind.

One of my best friends from home joined the Army with me. We were stationed on the same base for basic training – Fort Jackson, South Carolina – and now resided here for our advanced skills training to learn our Army jobs. Even though we were so close, we only saw each other twice. Back then, to communicate, we had to mail letters to each other at the post office even though we were just minutes away. He had procrastinated getting his bus ticket but sometime after Thanksgiving, he assured me it was in his hand.

When I showed up in a vast parking lot jammed with damn near the whole base, leaving, I scrambled to find my bus. I had an overstuffed duffle bag hoisted on one shoulder, weaving around buses with signs to Memphis, Denver, Boston, you name it. Then I saw Scott. He was hanging out the window of the bus marked for Cleveland.

I flashed a big smile of relief and pointed to him as if to say, “Save me a spot, I’ll be right there.”

Then, the unimaginable happened. The bus driver said the bus was full. I shoved my ticket into his chest with pleading eyes, unwilling to take no for an answer.

He looked at the ticket and said, “Nope! No good. We’re full.”

He boarded, the doors closed and my buddy cruised by me making hand motions and expressions, saying, “WHAT THE….”

One by one, buses kicked into drive and pulled out.

I desperately grabbed a sergeant and rattled off the horror of my predicament.

“Private, in about three minutes, you’ll be the only person in a ghost town. My suggestion is you land yourself on any bus with room headed north,” asserted the sergeant.

I turned and saw “Pittsburgh” in the window of a bus right in front of me. I stepped on and saw plenty of vacant seats. As a Browns fan, the humor didn’t escape me. I told the driver my story as he glanced at my ticket and waved me on.

Somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia, we pulled off for a 15 minute break to get gas and food. I used this opportunity to make a collect call home. Fortunately, my mom picked up the phone.

“Mom, listen carefully, there was a mistake with my bus ticket and now I’m headed for Pittsburgh. You will have to pick me up there,” I spoke clearly but concisely.

“What…” she responded and began to babble.

“Mom, I have to go now. I can’t explain. Just pick me up at the Pittsburgh bus station at about Midnight. I will not have another chance to talk. I’ll see you there.”

She had no choice but to say, okay.

And just like that, I was off the phone and just made it back on the bus before it pulled out of the stop.

My parents got in the car and headed for Pittsburgh. There was no GPS or even an Internet to get directions. Time was of the essence so they just got in the car and drove, looking at a roadmap that had been stuffed in the glove compartment. When they neared the city, as luck would have it, they saw a greyhound bus on the road.

“Follow that bus!” Mom yelled at Dad.

And that’s what he did. They figured if a greyhound was headed for the city, it must be headed for the station. Quickly, they realized that the bus station was in what seemed to be a rundown part of town.

When I got off the bus and waited in the Pittsburgh station, I wandered aimlessly. I saw all walks of life up close. Most of the people wandering at this desolate hour were the kind that triggered a little voice in my head that said, “You need to get the hell out of here or at least keep moving.”

“ROCKY!” cried out my mom.

I wrapped my arms around her and my dad. It had been months since I had seen anyone I loved. And in this lonely, dark and cold terminal, they were a sight for sore eyes.

There I was, a grown man enlisted in the Army about to depart America for nearly three years before I’d see family again, enjoying the fact that my mom and dad traveled through the night to rescue me. It made this the most special trip home for the holidays I had ever had. And although I would never have wanted this to happen the way it did, I wouldn’t change the fact it had, yet I would never want it to happen again.

My dad picked up my duffle bag and said as any Browns fan would, “Pittsburgh sucks. Let’s go home.”

By Frank Rocco Satullo, author of “HERE I THOUGHT I WAS NORMAL: Micro Memoirs of Mischief and editor of OhioTraveler.com.

Thirteenth Amendment Exhibit

Slave Pen at Freedom Center

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will exhibit a rare, handwritten copy of the Thirteenth Amendment—the federal law, passed on January 31, 1865, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude except for punishment of a crime—in January 2016.

The announcement comes as the community continues to engage with our nation’s freedom journey through the current exhibition of the Emancipation Proclamation, on loan from David Rubenstein, and as citizens across the nation exercise their right to vote.

The Thirteenth Amendment is also a loan from David Rubenstein, managing director of The Carlyle Group. Mr. Rubenstein, who was recently profiled for his “patriotic philanthropy” on television program 60 Minutes, personally selected the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center as the temporary home for two rare, historical freedom documents from his collection.

“David’s decision to share both the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment with us is reflective of the value and importance of our institution,” says Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, “one that will continue to enable us to engage and educate the public through compelling historical documents and artifacts, in addition to our permanent exhibitions. It’s a rare occurrence to see these two documents exhibited side-by-side.”

When the Civil War began in 1861, President Lincoln sought to preserve the Union rather than end the system of enslavement. He knew that neither the Union nor the Border States would support abolition as a final outcome, however, by mid-1862, the President was convinced that abolition was the correct military and moral strategy. To solve this dilemma, in early 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation was issued but it only freed enslaved persons in states that had already seceded from the Union. At the time, it was thought of as an effective war measure that would cripple the Confederacy, which had used enslaved laborers to support the Confederate Army. However, the Emancipation Proclamation also set the stage for conversations on the future of human bondage in the United States and would dramatically alter the lives of African Americans once the Civil War ended – with the passing and ratification of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. While the struggle for freedom continues to this day, these documents became a cornerstone in the fight for freedom and equality in our nation.

“The arrival of the Thirteenth Amendment at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is powerful in the telling the America’s journey to freedom,” says Dr. Newsome. “From the arrival of the first slave ships to the Underground Railroad to the ratification Thirteenth Amendment, our nation’s story is one that is not easy to tell but must be told. It’s ever important that we continue to educate the public about this time, as the effects of institutionalized slavery and racism continue to plague us in modern forms—inequality, injustice, generational poverty and global lack of access to healthcare—proving the inherent need for current and future generations to learn important lessons from our relatively recent past.”

The Thirteenth Amendment will be on exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center beginning January 2016 through June 2016. To learn more visit www.freedomcenter.org/13Amendment.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Visit the permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Millions of people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom.

Christmas Train Rides in Ohio


Are you looking to ride The Polar Express or Santa Trains? Do you want to take a trip to the North Pole? Act fast, they book quickly. Here are several great ideas to enjoy your holiday season in across Ohio.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Santa Claus Express and Polar Express in Penninsula, Ohio:   For availability, reservations and rates, call 800-468-4070.  The trip is full of fun as kids try to spot reindeer in the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley while they wait for Santa to stop by and visit. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers the Polar Express as well. However, getting tickets for this wonderful trip is very difficult even when planning months in advance. It is done through a mail-in lottery. Tickets are sometimes found through area newspapers as well. Passengers are encouraged to wear pajamas. Cookies and hot-coco are served.

Dennison Railroad Museum‘s Polar Express in Dennison, Ohio:
For availability, reservations and rates, call 740-922-6776.
This newly restored railroad station encourages parents to take your family on a journey of a lifetime. Just like The Polar Express book and movie, passengers are seen riding the rails in their pajamas sipping hot chocolate and snacking on cookies. As the storyline unfolds, so do the events aboard this train. Once at the North Pole, Santa hops aboard to meet the children and hand out presents.

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway Santa Trains in Nelsonville, Ohio: For tickets and information, call 740-249-1452. As the train departs, Santa begins his journey through the train of heated coaches and visits with each child, hearing their special requests before the Big Day. Each child also gets to enjoy a candy treat after Santa’s visit. Trains operate each Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, and a couple of evening departure. The ride lasts approximately two hours. Reserve ahead of time.

LM&M Railroad‘s North Pole Express in Lebanon, Ohio:
For availability, reservations and rates, call 513-933-8022
Take a ride on a vintage train to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Children will receive a small gift from Santa. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies and entertainment by Santa’s elves. Bring kids, grandparents or a friend but don’t forget your camera because this event is filled with fun.

Enjoy a Peaceful Holiday Season


Discover how peaceful and enjoyable the holidays can be without all the hustle and bustle this December in Coshocton and Historic Roscoe Village. Find out what Christmas was like in the 1800s, enjoy a drive-it-yourself live nativity, experience an old-fashioned candlelighting ceremony, rejoice in a choir concert featuring over 200 musicians, and appreciate holiday shopping the way it was meant to be.

Holiday shopping in Coshocton and Roscoe Village is a joyful experience with unique shops, unusual gifts, no hectic traffic, and free parking. Find gifts for everyone on the list such as Ohio-made items at Ohio State of Mind; old-fashioned candy at Roscoe Village Sweets & Treats; hand-made wares at the Roscoe Village Visitors Center; unique crafts and gifts at The Gift Depot, Cottage Gate, and Caldersburgh Trading Company; locally-made US Flags at the Annin Flagmakers Showroom; outdoor and hunting supplies at Woodbury Outfitters; unique jewelry at the House of GA. Fisher Jewelers and at Dean’s Jewelry; and award-winning cheeses at Pearl Valley Cheese.

Also find fine guitars and dulcimers at Wildwood Music; affordable antiques at The Coshocton Antique Mall and at C & M Collectibles; locally-crafted goods at Commonwealth Americana; fascinating gifts at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum Gift Shop; locally-made wines; Vera Bradley items and wine making supplies at Canal Cargo; homemade fudge at the Roscoe General Store; gourmet foods and unusual gifts at Medbery Marketplace and Unusual Junction; hand-made leather items at River Ridge Leather; and many more unique options to choose from throughout the community.

There are a number of wineries in the Coshocton area as well. In fact, within 43 miles of Coshocton, there are 16 wineries – a few of which have either a guest house, lodge or bed & breakfast on site including at Rainbow Hills Winery and Heritage Vineyard Winery, perfect for that winter getaway.

There are also many festivals and events coming up this season including the Coshocton Community Choir ‘Gifts of Love’ Christmas Festival Concert on December 6; the Christmas Candlelightings in Historic Roscoe Village on December 5, 12 & 19; the drive-through Live Nativity experience on December 11, 12 & 13 at the Coshocton Christian Tabernacle; and more.

A live theater production of Uh-oh Here Comes Christmas also takes place at the Triple Locks Theater the first three weekends of December. And the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, home of the famous Newark Holy Stones, has an impressive exhibit of Chinese artwork on display through January 3.

Looking ahead into 2016, enjoy the Sweetheart Big Band Dance and the Chocolate Extravaganza on February 13 ~ a perfect romantic getaway weekend. Also that weekend is the Cardinal Chorale Winter Pops Concert on February 14. On February 20, enjoy the Ice Carving and Chili Cook Off event.

Several overnight getaway packages are available at Coshocton Village Inn & Suites this season including the Old-fashioned Christmas in Historic Roscoe Village package and the Raven’s Glenn Wine Tasting Package.

Leave the hectic pace of the modern world behind and get away to Historic Roscoe Village and Coshocton, Ohio ~ small-town friendliness, a slower pace, relaxation, and, most importantly, true holiday spirit. For additional information, call for a free visitor packet at 800-338-4724 or go to www.VisitCoshocton.com and then visit Coshocton in person.

By Jan Myers

Skate Away The Holidays


Rink at RiverScape MetroPark offers affordable winter fun for the whole family.

The region’s largest outdoor ice skating rink is open for season-long, family-friendly fun on the banks of the scenic Great Miami River in downtown Dayton, Ohio.

Presented by Buckeye Health Plan, admission to the MetroParks Ice Rink at RiverScape MetroPark (237 E. Monument Ave.) is $5 daily, and visitors can rent ice skates for $2.

Work off the holiday indulgences on the ice and treat out-of-town guests to some outdoor Dayton winter fun. The MetroParks Ice Rink will be open through Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, including special holiday hours. The rink will be open during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, as well as during other holidays throughout the season. Visit www.metroparks.org/icerink for the complete schedule.

You can even rent the ice rink for private events from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday and Thursday evenings for a great outing for families, neighborhoods, clubs and other groups. Dates fill up fast, so the public is encouraged to reserve soon for the best selection of dates. The $300 rink rental includes 50 pairs of ice skates and 50 cups of hot chocolate. Invite Parker the Penguin, the MetroParks Ice Rink mascot, to your party for an additional $75/hour. Rent the rink using the online reservation system or call 937-275-7275.

Season passes are available: $75 family passes cover season-long admission and skate rentals for up to five people, and $40 individual passes cover the same costs for one person. Gift certificates are available in any dollar amount.

Beginning in January, every Friday evening will be devoted to a genre of music. All events are held from 7 to 10 p.m. Themes include Pop Country Skate, Top 40 Hits, Wish Upon a Star Skate featuring Disney classics, Old Soul Skate, Karaoke Classics, Sounds from the Cinema and Disco Fever.

While at RiverScape MetroPark, visitors can warm up by the fire and grab snacks, hot chocolate and more at the adjacent RiverScape Café, which will be open during rink hours.

Skating lessons for adults and children are held at the rink throughout the season and cover basic skills that will have participants moving comfortably on the ice. Visit www.metroparks.org/skating for a list of lessons and other events that will be held at the MetroParks Ice Rink.

In addition, registration is now open for the 2016 curling and broomball leagues or visitors can try these sports at Try Broomball or Casual Curl, held on various dates in November and December.

“With its appeal to both young and old, the experience of skating at the MetroParks Ice Rink is a holiday tradition for Miami Valley families looking for something fun to do together,” said James Carter, RiverScape MetroPark rental concession supervisor. “With its location along the riverfront, the MetroParks Ice Rink also is a great way to experience the outdoors during cooler weather.”

Christmas Relocated…to Cleveland


Cleveland is the best location in the nation where the crossroads of Hollywood and Christmas create year-round fun.

You can see Uncle Eddie’s lemon of an RV from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and see Cindy Lou Who’s entire bedroom set from the movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas. There are even millions of dollars-worth of actual New York City Christmas window displays from years past. And everyone already knows you can explore Ralphie’s actual house and neighborhood from the movie A Christmas Story.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you enjoy Christmas and you love watching Christmas movies, Cleveland is your North Pole! Let this winter deliver a blizzard of fun at two stops. One is A Castle Noel – the world’s largest privately held collection of Christmas movie props and costumes. The other is A Christmas Story House and Museum featuring just about everything from the movie, A Christmas Story.

Start your adventure at A Christmas Story House. The movie was filmed in Cleveland but it portrays a fictional town in Indiana. Cleveland happened to have the perfect neighborhood, a house with a wraparound porch, the old downtown department store, old neighborhood school and other things that met the movie’s scouting team’s criteria to a “T”. The old Higbees building agreed to keep its Christmas look months past the end of the holiday for filming.

Brian Jones bought the house on eBay. Previously, he made leg lamps inspired by the movie. Originally, he did it as a gift to his parents. Then friends. The more he made, the more others wanted them. Since the demand for leg lamps was so strong, he felt the house would also draw interest.

The exterior of the house was remodeled back to how it looked for the movie. Since the interior shots were actually filmed on a sound stage that was bigger than the rooms in the real house, there were challenges to replicate it. Today, it’s like walking through Ralphie’s home – close enough anyway.

The initial tour is 15 minutes (starting every 30 minutes). Afterward, you are encouraged to explore on your own. Most folks go straight to the nostalgic photo ops to reenact the movie’s more memorable scenes. One of the most popular pastimes is to hide under the sink like little Randy. You can imagine the grown men trying to pull this off. And of course, whether inside or outside, posing with that leg in the window is a must.

“It is definitely the most touched leg in Cleveland,” laughed Steve Siedlecki, Executive Director of A Christmas Story House.

The house is full of interactive settings.

Across the street from the house is the museum. There, you’ll find the actual costumes, behind-the-scenes photos and memorabilia galore. You’ll even see Randy’s snow suit.

The gift shop has it all – leg lamps (It’s a major award!), decoder pens, pink bunny suits, even the official Daisy Red Ryder Range Model 1938 Air Rifle BB Gun complete with retro box from A Christmas Story.

But be careful, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Heck there’s even a nearby “official” Chinese restaurant. Bring your ticket stub and get 10 percent off.

One of the many memorable scenes from A Christmas Story is when Ralphie climbs Santa Claus Mountain inside a (Cleveland) department store to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas. But as we all know, Ralphie choked. Just as he began to slide down the giant slide, he stopped, looked up, and spit out his wish. Santa merely said, “You’ll shoot your eye out,” pressed his foot against Ralphie, and “assisted” his descent down Santa Claus Mountain.

Well, slide down to Medina, just south of Cleveland, and recreate that scene on a replica of Santa Claus Mountain inside A Castle Noel.

A Castle Noel is where many famous Hollywood Christmas movie stage sets, costumes and other memorabilia are collected for the public to experience first-hand.

This Christmas wish came true for collector Mark Klaus. And with a name like Klaus, he was destined for the Christmas business along with his wife, Dana.

“My dad was the living image of Clark Griswold’s character in National Lampoon’s A Christmas Vacation and my mom was a Big Band singer who would fill the house with music,” remembers Klaus.

Mark was a sculptor by trade. He sold Christmas Nativities on TV for 20 years.  Somewhere along the line he began collecting Christmas movie props.

Now he claims the world’s largest privately held collection of Christmas movie props and costumes. And he’s sharing it with the public at A Castle Noel. It spans a half a block in the picturesque square of Medina’s downtown. Think visions of It’s A Wonderful Life. Inside is a 40,000 square foot wonderland.

Start your journey at The Blizzard Vortex Tunnel. This giant swirling tube is where you travel back to your childhood.

One of the most impressive visuals at A Castle Noel is the Christmas window displays straight from the iconic stores in New York City. Yes, these are the real deal – New York department store Christmas windows of the past – featuring sets of animated window displays that cost up to $2 million to make.

These were formerly decorated storefront windows at places like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylor. The Saks displays feature 10 windows from the mid-90s – stunning! It tells stories of The Nutcracker and The Magic Telescope.  Bloomingdales features the 2009 shoe display and glittering colors of shoes as seen the world over by going viral on the Internet Their 2013 window display has the Three Bears reading a book.

There are more than 50 New York City Christmas windows. Each window pane is a progression in a themed story. A backstage tour is part of the normal tour. There, visitors see the restoration workshop.

A crowd favorite is the 1960’s Cleveland Higbees window display (It’s where A Christmas Story’s department scene is set).

A Castle Noel is a special place to reminisce. Whether you’re 1 or 101, smiles abound. And for the older “kids” there are thousands of toys to see from a Christmas’ past.

“Hey, I remember when my sister cut all the hair off that doll,” is a common line to hear as people marvel at toys that time forgot.

Christmas movies are a part of our culture. And now the nuts and bolts that built these Christmas classics are here for you to touch and see and smell and hear.

And it’s interactive. The Santa Claus Squeeze is the jolly ole elf’s training facility. Have you ever thought about going down a chimney by yourself. Now you can! And what’s even better is watching grandma keep up with her grandkids grinning ear to ear, laughing all the way.

Heck, Cindy Lou Who’s entire bedroom set from the movie, How The Grinch Stole Christmas is here! Imagine that.

The following are just some of the precious finds at A Castle Noel:

  • The Grinch’s star from the top of the tree and Jim Carey’s motorcycle and 16 foot Grinch sleigh. There are 400 props and costumes from that movie alone.
  • The actual Buddy the Elf outfit from the movie Elf starring Will Ferrell as well as the special gift that Buddy got for his father. There’s even the purple elf hockey outfit.
  • The house from outer space complete with light show from the movie Deck The Halls starring Danny DeVito. See how the miniature house with 80,000 fiber optic tips is made to look real in the motion picture.
  • The giant snowman for the top of the house from the movie Christmas with the Kranks starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis along with their costumes.
  • The costume for the Ghost of Christmas Past and Scrooge’s night coat from the movie A Christmas Carol.
  • The elf outfit from the character Patch as well as the remote control sleigh and reindeer and a short film showing how the movie Santa Claus starring Dudley Moore was made.
  • They even have Uncle Eddie’s RV from National Lampoon’s A Christmas Vacation,Arnold Schwarzenegger costumes from Jingle All The Way, and a thirty foot Christmas tree with 11,000 lights.

The magic continues in a Theater that snows inside! There, a short movie plays a bunch of nostalgic clips from everyone’s favorite Christmas movies.

Guided tours last about an hour and a half. Along the Hollywood Walk of Fame visitors gaze at hundreds of vintage Christmas movie photos. There are also several train displays plus a black light 3D mini golf course with a Santa meets aliens theme.

The climax of A Castle Noel brings us full circle with A Christmas Story House. You get to ascend Santa Claus Mountain like Ralphie did in A Christmas Story movie to meet Santa for a photo and ask for what you want for Christmas and then slide down the long slide.

You can commemorate your “movie” experience with a visit to the gift shop. It’s loaded with treats to put under your Christmas tree for every Christmas movie lover in the family.

By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler

On Stage in Marietta


With its January grand opening weekend nearly sold-out, Peoples Bank Theatre, in downtown Marietta, is announcing its inaugural series of concerts in the newly-restored historic hall.

Originally a vaudeville house dating back over 100 years, and previously called the Hippodrome Theatre, downtown Marietta reopens this renovated piece of history.

The Winter-Spring 2016 Spotlight Series features 10 performances, encompassing a mix of music, comedy and dance. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on December 1, 2015.

The Spotlight Series kicks off with the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s Complete History of Comedy on January 23, 2016 at 8 p.m.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company has created ten world-renowned stage shows, two television specials, and numerous radio pieces, all of which have been performed, seen, and heard the world over. The company’s itinerary has included stops off-Broadway, at the White House, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London’s West End, Seattle Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, and Montreal’s famed Just For Laughs Festival.

From the high-brow to the low, The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) covers comedy through the ages, from Aristophanes and Shakespeare and Moliere (Is Moliere funny? Why not?) to Vaudeville and Charlie Chaplin to The Daily Show and Anthony Weiner.

On February 4, the nationally touring production of Saturday Night Fever takes center stage at 8 p.m. The original production in London was nominated for Best New Musical and then enjoyed a run of more than 500 performances when it was later staged on Broadway.

This brand new production of Saturday Night Fever is packed with legendary hits from the Bee Gees including the classics Stayin’ Alive, Night Fever, Jive Talking, You Should Be Dancing and How Deep is Your Love?

Standup comedian and NPR personality Paula Poundstone steps up to the microphone on February 13 at 8 p.m. Poundstone appears as regular panelist on NPR’s number-one show, the weekly news quiz show, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me. This year she was also part of the talented cast in Pixar’s critically acclaimed movie, INSIDE OUT, and she tours regularly, performing standup comedy across the country.

On March 12 at 8 p.m. Grammy Award winning singer Kathy Mattea and her longtime collaborator, guitarist Bill Cooley meet as old friends and welcome the audience in the Acoustic Living Room to share songs and stories near and dear to their hearts — including Kathy’s beloved classics such as “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” “Where’ve You Been?,” and many other hits, plus a handful of more eclectic and often requested tunes from her extensive catalogue, as well as a sprinkling of brand new material, all reinterpreted for the duo format.

The Johnny Clegg Band follows with a high-energy world music concert on March 25 at 8 p.m. Johnny Clegg is one of South Africa’s most celebrated sons. He is a singer, a songwriter, a dancer, anthropologist and a musical activist whose infectious crossover music, a vibrant blend of Western pop and African Zulu rhythms, has exploded onto the international scene and broken through all the barriers in his own country. In France, where he enjoys a massive following, he is fondly called Le Zulu Blanc – the white Zulu.

On March 26 at 8 p.m. Rhythm in the Night, the Irish Dance Spectacular, reimagines traditional Irish dance to take the audience on an exciting journey of a fallen hero and his rise to redemption for an unforgettable experience the entire family will enjoy.

A complete schedule and tickets for Spotlight Series performances are online at www.peoplesbanktheatre.com or by calling 740-371-5152.

Castle Noel is a Standout


Castle Noel: How can America’s largest year-round indoor Christmas entertainment attraction not be a Standout in Ohio! Mark Klaus (yes, Klaus) and his wife, Dana, created a wonderland out of an old church in scenic downtown Medina, Ohio. In it, you’ll find yourself at the crossroads where Hollywood meets Christmas. Where else can you slide down Santa Clause Mountain which is a replica of the two-story slide from the movie, A Christmas Story. Heck, even Uncle Eddy’s infamous RV from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is parked on site. In addition, it features authentic props from Hollywood Christmas movies, including Elf, Grinch, Christmas Vacation, and many other holiday classics. Other delights are seeing Toy Land which allows people to relive childhood by revisiting favorite toys from Christmas’ past. Speaking of Christmas’ past, there’s $2 million worth of stunning Christmas displays that used to grace famous New York City storefronts.  All this and much more wait your Xmas celebration any time of year. Click here for more information.

This award recognizes Ohio’s standouts in tourism. More details about the award and all award recipients are at ohiotraveler.com/standouts-in-ohio-tourism/.