Eastern Ohio’s Newest Attraction:
Steubenville Nutcracker Village
This November, downtown Steubenville will be transformed into a holiday destination as the second annual Steubenville Nutcracker Village and Advent Market presented by Trinity Health System opens for the season.
This unique attraction features over one hundred life-sized Nutcrackers, each one representing a well-known character, mascot or profession. These colorful figures are arrayed beneath the twinkling arches of Fort Steuben Park allowing people to take photos as they recognize familiar personalities or literary heroes such as Dr. Who, St. Francis, Scrooge, the Italian Gondolier, Patrolman Holiday, the Phantom of the Opera and Steubenville’s own Dean Martin. Designed and fabricated in the city by Nelson’s of Steubenville, the Nutcrackers will be on display day and night from November 22 through January 8.
Nutcrackers will also be among the holiday themed décor that will fill the Exhibit Hall in the Fort Steuben Visitor Center where the Christmas Wonderland welcomes young and old. Amidst a variety of Christmas trees, there will be retro toys, music, and novelties to evoke memories of Christmas Past. Youngsters can write letters to Santa and take photos on Magic, the Holiday Horse. Collectible nutcrackers, books, puzzles and gift items are on sale in the Fort Steuben Gift Shop, open daily in the Visitor Center from 10am to 6pm.
Weekends will bring additional activities for family fun and memory-making. Beginning the Friday following Thanksgiving, artisans will offer specialty crafts and baked goods in Holiday Chalets as part of the Advent Market. Shoppers can browse and purchase homemade fudge, doll clothes, woodcrafts, local honey, wooden toys, grapevine wreaths, herbal products as well as locally produced Nutcracker souvenirs. Food booths will offer traditional European treats such as bratwurst, potato dishes and desserts. Entertainment by area performers, church and school choirs and popular bands will fill the air with holiday music. Steubenville’s historic churches will shine through magnificent stained glass windows as visitors take evening hayrides through the city streets. An incredibly detailed Miniature Railroad exhibit will delight the young and recapture memories for adults. For a small fee, guests can board the Holly Trolley to take a memorable ride to holiday sites. The Market will be open from 4pm-9pm on Fridays and Saturdays, 1pm-6pm on Sundays.
The annual Sights and Sounds of Christmas Parade on December 10th will feature the theme “Nutcracker Magic.” There are expected to be over 80 units including bands, dance troupes and floats that will travel down 4th Street and reflect the holiday spirit. The nearby Advent Market will be open from noon to 9pm that day.
New this year is an original musical production based on the Steubenville Nutcracker Village and using the familiar melodies of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. The Wooden Heart Follies will be performed at the Masonic Hall, 227 N. 4th Street, on four Sunday afternoons (Nov. 27, Dec. 4, Dec. 11 & Dec. 18); tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for students and free for children under 6. They can be obtained in advance at the Visitor Center or on-line by clicking here or at the door.
The stars of the event, of course, will be the delightful Nutcrackers themselves. Nelson’s of Steubenville founder and manager Mark Nelson explained the process. “We began as woodcrafters and our team of craftsmen simply adapted the tools and equipment to produce a light weight product made from a dense foam. My daughter Therese is the artist who designs and oversees the painting of the Nutcrackers. We produced 37 last year, but had such an enthusiastic response that we have added 75 more, each with an individual personality and sponsor. Our crew is as excited about it as the community!”
Judy Bratten, director of Historic Fort Steuben and the Visitor Center, noted that last year’s event drew thousands of people to the downtown. “It was a wonderful time for families, friends and visitors from out of town who said it was magical! Everyone was filled with the joy of the season and we expect to have the same response again this year. We are especially grateful for all the businesses, organizations and individuals listed in the program guide who have come together to make our Nutcracker Village a reality.”
Visitors are invited to explore the various shops and restaurants in downtown Steubenville while the Nutcracker Village is open. Browsers enjoy the Antique Warehouse, three floors filled with antiques, collectibles and crafts from over 100 dealers, or Adams Antiques, where you can relive yesteryear, today. Love to wander through book stores? BookMarx Books features both used and new editions as well as gifts and artwork. The Classic Corner Restaurant with its art deco design offers entertainment as well as meals; or you can enjoy traditional Italian fare at Naples Spaghetti House where Dean Martin used to dine. The Visitor Center provides directions and suggestions for shopping, dining and lodging as well as hosting the Nutcracker Village.
The Steubenville Nutcracker Village and Advent Market will be found at Fort Steuben Park and Visitor Center, 120 S. 3rd Street, Steubenville OH; for more information, call 866-301-1787 or visit the website by clicking here.