HOLIDAY WHOPLA, LIGHT UP MIDDLETOWN AND A SANTA PARADE | VARIOUS TIMES AND DATES
Those looking for diverse holiday activities this year may want to consider visiting downtown Middletown. The city has at least three major holiday events this year, including an appearance from Middletown native Kyle Schwarber, who will serve as grand marshal of the Santa Parade after helping the Philadelphia Phillies to their first postseason since 2011.
Light Up Middletown, a drive-through holiday lights display at Smith Park, kicked off its 21st season on Thanksgiving and runs through Jan. 1, 2023. LUM is open from 6 to 10 p.m. and will feature new displays this year, said Bill Becker, a member of the Grandpa Gang that assembles the lights every year. Admission is by donation and proceeds assist in the upkeep of the lights and park improvements, Becker said.
The 15th Santa Parade kicks off at 4 p.m. Saturday from MidPointe Library and concludes at Manchester Avenue. Besides Schwarber, the parade will feature Mr. and Mrs. Claus riding in a Middletown fire truck, numerous floats, characters in costumes, musical groups and dance teams.
Holiday Whopla has opened for its second season and Avinne Kiser, the founder, said visitors will see a larger ice rink, a Polar Express train ride, food trucks, beer and wine garden, rentable heated igloos, a Christmas Carol Off and extended days. She said organizers have increased their advertising in hopes of attracting more visitors from outside Middletown. Holiday Whopla opened Nov. 18 and runs though Jan. 16 with various hours seven days a week, she said. It will be closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Polar Express train will run near the ice rink Dec. 9-10 and Dec. 16-17, she said. There will be a Christmas Carol Off from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 21 at Sorg Opera House. Three choirs will win cash prices. Admission is $10 per person. Proceeds will benefit the Sorg and Whopla. For more information, go to www.holidaywhopla.com.
LEBANON HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE PARADE | DEC. 3
It’s the 33rd year for the annual horse-drawn carriage parade in Lebanon. Our staff can tell you from experience: Get there early. Crowds will pack the downtown area to see this spectacle, which draws participants from throughout the country. We’re talking rows-deep along the parade route. The city’s festival begins at 10 a.m. with food and craft vendors along Mulberry and Mechanic streets. The parade takes place at 1 p.m. and then again at 7 p.m. (lighted). Reserved boxes and VIP parking are available.
2022 MERRY CHRISTMAS MARKET | DEC. 10-11
Niederman Farm in Liberty Twp. will host a Christmas craft show. Featured will be farm favorites and gifts from local vendors. Santa Claus will visit with children. “The Santa Experience” from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday requires a ticket, reserved in advance. The market is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 10 and noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 11 at the farm at 5110 Lesourdsville West Chester Road, Liberty Twp.
A VERY MERRY TAKEOVER | DEC. 1 & DEC. 8
The Square @ Union Centre in West Chester Twp. will be the venue for two outdoor Christmas concert experiences. The Naked Karate Girls perform live versions of pop radio hits from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 1 and there will be music by Elf DJ on Dec. 8. The Dec. 1 events will include the official lighting of The Square. Also Dec. 1, Caring Community Collaborative (C3) will sell alcoholic beverages from Ohio Eagle Distributing of West Chester, with proceeds going to support their organization’s mission. Members of Cincinnati’s Young Professionals Choral Collective will perform Christmas carols at intermission of the NKG show. Santa Claus and his reindeer friends will make a special visit at both events. The Dec. 8 event will have a giant games arena. A Very Merry Takeover will also feature bites from the VFW Post 7696 food trailer and warm beverages at Travelin’ Tom’s Coffee truck. Concessions will be available for purchase.