XENIA — Bring the entire family for Greene County Parks & Trails’ expanded Annual Santa’s Holiday in the Park beginning nightly at 6:30-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21 at James Ranch Park, 177 Fairground Road.
“All of us at Greene County Parks & Trails love hosting Santa’s Holiday in the Park,” said agency director Chrisbell Bednar. “It’s so rewarding to see how many local families enjoy the event and look forward to it as part of their holiday traditions.”
Greene County Parks & Trails Event Manager Robin Gregory says approximately $2,000 in new light displays have been purchased with proceeds raised from the event.
“We have re-invested our donations from the event back into spectacular new light displays,” Gregory said. “Even if you have attended in previous years, you need to come in 2013 to enjoy the wagon ride through the park and to see our new light displays. It really is amazing how the park looks at night with the music and holiday lights.”
New event highlights this year include the addition of seven animated LED light displays as well as illuminating the 1800s brick home for the first time.
“James Ranch Park will be glowing this holiday season,” she added.
Apple County Farm Market will be showcasing one of their holiday trees as well as providing live greenery for the home, front porch and wagons.
Greene Memorial Hospital, betterImages Portrait Studio, Shawnee Heating and Air, Apple Country Farm Market and Collett Propane, Inc., help sponsor the Greene County Parks & Trails event.
The event is free but donations are appreciated to help support the event, Gregory said. All proceeds are reinvested into the event for future growth.
Participants will have the opportunity to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus within the brick 1800s home at James Ranch Park, as well as take a wagon ride through the park with more than 100,000 holiday lights illuminating the park and bridge that leads to the paved trail. Holiday music is piped throughout the park and adds to the festive mood.
Back by popular demand, children are invited to either bring their letter to Santa for mailing or write their own letter with assistance from the elves at the Greene Memorial Hospital booth.
“It was great seeing the youngest visitors either mail their letter to Santa,” said Gregory, “or actually write their letter at the GMH booth. The hospital volunteers were on-site to help as needed.”
Families may also purchase hot chocolate for a nominal fee from the elite all-volunteer Greene County Parks & Trails Trail Sentinels. All proceeds benefit the programs and services of the volunteer cyclists who assist on the trails and hold multiple bike safety programs.
The GCP&T Trail Sentinels will also be raffling off two children’s bicycles with tickets available on-site; the winners will be notified before Christmas to claim their holiday prize.
Children can also receive free holiday face tattoos after visiting with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
Photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus can be purchased for a nominal fee from betterImages or families may bring their own cameras or video devices. A suggested donation of $1 per person is requested with all proceeds used to support and expand the event.
For more information about Greene County Parks & Trails or Santa’s Holiday in the Park call 937-562-6440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.