COLUMBUS GROVE — Santa is making the rounds, looking for good boys and girls.
He made a stop Sunday night in Columbus Grove, arriving on a village fire truck, to drop in on the annual Christmas in the Park celebration.
Santa even led the crowd in helping to count down to the moment when Memorial Park became illuminated with thousands of bright Christmas lights.
“It [Christmas in the Park] has been going on for a while. Several years ago there was a gentleman in town that donated a bunch of money to put all of the trees and everything in here and the gazebo and at that point the town decided to start decorating the park and have a little celebration before Christmas every year. I think it’s probably been 20-plus years it’s been going on” Village Administrator Jeff Vance said.
The event has changed little through the years.
“Pretty much the traditional, what we’ve done in the past with cookies, hot chocolate, lighting of the tree, Santa’s coming, pictures with Santa, wagon rides. We generally have a great turnout here,” Mayor Ken Wright said.
The Columbus Grove Chamber of Commerce is also a partner in putting on the event.
“It’s a cooperative effort between the village and the chamber. The chamber actually takes care of the photography with the children with Santa and the village pretty much picks up the rest of it,” he said.
And the village employees go above and beyond to make sure Christmas in the Park is a success.
“This is pretty much an all-day event for many of our employees because they come down here and they start cooking chili over an open fire this afternoon and they set all this up. It’s not employee time. They’re in here just volunteering to make this all work,” he said.
There was also entertainment up in the gazebo with singers and dancers, but the highlight is the display of lights in the park.
“It’s a great display for our downtown, really proud of it,” Wright said.
Reach Sam Shriver 567-242-0409.