According to John Styer, one of the organizers of the first Terre Hill Christmas in the Park, one goal of the extravaganza is to create a holiday gathering spot for ELANCO-area neighbors. "It is to be an affordable, fun event that gets the entire community involved because there is something for everybody to enjoy," said Styer.
Styer said that the idea for Christmas in the Park has long been under consideration, but in the fall of 2017, a committee came together with community support to organize the inaugural event, which will be held in the Terre Hill Park, 210 Lancaster Ave., Terre Hill, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Dec. 7, 8, and 9, from 5 to 9 p.m. Plans for the event include a combination lighted walking trail and live Nativity, visits from Santa Claus, live music, and food items for purchase.
The walking trail and Nativity will include lighted decorations. "The (light) displays along the trail are all handmade from metal," said Styer, who explained that 75 wire frame displays were completed by November. "Everything was hand drawn, and (the displays were) bent from quarter-inch steel and custom strung with up to 20 different colored lights." According to Styer, the animals that will be part of the walk-through, multiscene live Nativity, as well as a snowman playing baseball on the town diamond, will be among the many light creations. "We will decorate the entire park with lights," said Styer. Admission to the trail will be by suggested donation, and children ages 4 to 12 will receive a discount. Children age 3 and under will be admitted free. The admission will be good for one entire evening. Because the trail covers approximately one quarter-mile of walking distance, transportation via a golf cart will be available to those who require assistance.
In addition to the lighted trail, children may enjoy a holiday train ride through the park, which will also be available for a suggested donation. The train will travel through the forest, over a bridge, and even to the Terre Hill North Pole. Families may also want to enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through town for a fee.
Christmas Village will be located in the grove of trees by the lower pavilions. In this area, children will have the chance to visit Santa Claus and whisper Christmas wishes. In an area adjacent to the village, vendors will sell handmade items created especially for the upcoming gift-giving season. Other activities held in this area will include pet photos with Mrs. Claus from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 7 and gingerbread cookie decorating for children from 5 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 8 and 9. A Community Corner where visitors can learn about local nonprofit organizations will also be part of Christmas Village.
In Christmas Tree Plaza (the main park pavilion), organizers have arranged for a number of food vendors to sell items such as soft pretzels, lemonade, and french fries, funnel cakes, and hot beverages. The pavilion food stand will also be open and selling soup and sandwiches. The Christmas Tree Plaza will feature live music, including holiday music with Steve on Dec. 7, which will be an interactive show of gospel music, and holiday favorites. On Dec. 8, members of the Mount Zion United Methodist Church band will play from 5 to 7 p.m., and local musician Rich Arment will perform from 7:30 to 9 p.m. On Dec. 9, the plaza will feature music by Steve Dincau from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The plaza will also be the site of visits from animals, including the MaPaw Siberian Husky Rescue from 5 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 7 and the Eastland Alpacas from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 8.
Readers who would like more information on the event may visit http://terrehilldays.com or search for "Terre Hill Days Committee" on Facebook.