Holiday revelers traveling east or west from the Marietta area can find their share of festive lights, camera-ready events and fun action from now through Christmas.
By taking a two-hour drive northward to Ohio's Amish country, those looking for small-town holiday events for parents and children will be delighted by the town of Millersburg's plans on Dec. 14.
Photo courtesy of Bruce Stambaugh
Julie Brewer and Pam Bores, both of Glenmont, admire the Chrismons that decorate the Christmas tree at Faith Lutheran Church during a past Millersburg Candlelight Church Walk.
Historic downtown Millersburg will host Children's Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 14, where children can visit Santa and do a number of Christmas crafts at different downtown businesses.
Scheduled crafting activities include making a snowflake ornament, reindeer gift bag, pine cone bird feeder and snowman stocking ornament.
Santa will take a moment from his Christmas preparations to visit with children in the foyer at Bookworms.
Millersburg Candlelight Church Walk, tour of six churches.
Where: Millersburg Christian Church, 125 N. Clay St.; First Presbyterian Church, 90 S. Clay St.; Faith Lutheran Church, 187 S. Clay St.; St. Peter's Catholic Church, 379 S. Crawford St.; Millersburg Mennonite Church, 288 E. Jackson St.; Grace Pointe Community Church, 164 N. Washington St.
When: Starts 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 14; 8:15 p.m., special music and caroling at Millersburg Mennonite Church.
Children's Night, historic downtown Millersburg.
Where: Downtown Millersburg.
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 14.
Activities: Christmas crafts including a snowflake ornament, reindeer gift bag, pine cone bird feeder and snowman stocking ornament, each offered at a different downtown businesses. Santa will be in the foyer at Bookworms.
What: Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights.
Where: Oglebay Resort and Conference Center, Wheeling, W.Va.
When: Until 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, through Jan. 6.
Cost: Free, although a per car donation is requested.
Christmas in Russia concert.
Where: Ohio University's Templeton Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.
When: 8 p.m. Friday.
Cost: Free, no tickets required.
State Auto's Christmas Corner Nativity and holiday lights.
Where: State Auto Insurance Company, 518 E. Broad St., downtown Columbus.
When: Through Jan. 1; 6 to 8 a.m. and 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. weekdays; longer on weekends. Display will be lighted until 4:30 a.m. Christmas morning.
Olde Hilliard Christmas.
Where: Historical village at Weaver Park, 4100 Columbia St., Hilliard.
When: 6 to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Dec. 30.
Trans Siberian Orchestra "The Lost Christmas Eve" rock opera concerts.
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus.
When: 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 30.
For tickets, log on to trans-siberian.com/tour1.
"Merry and Bright" seasonal holiday exhibition.
Where: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus.
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, until 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Jan. 6.
Cost: $11 adults; $9 seniors and students; $6 children 3 to 17; free for children under 2. Includes all exhibitions.
Six churches in historic downtown Millersburg will offer the third annual Millersburg Candlelight Church Walk from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 14.
"People have just been excited to see how the churches look at Christmastime, to hear the music that's playing or just visiting friends they know," said Kate Findley, a coordinator for the church walk.
Music, decorations, historic information and refreshments may be enjoyed at each stop.
"Several of the churches are over 100 years old," said Findley. "People want to see the stained glass windows and architecture."
A time of special music and carol singing will be held at 8:15 p.m. at Millersburg Mennonite Church, 125 N. Clay St.
Festivity seekers traveling about 90 miles east from Marietta on I-77 and I-70 will be treated to the Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights in Wheeling, W.Va.-listed as one of the "10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the U.S." by AOL Travel and featured on the Travel Channel's "Extreme Christmas Celebrations."
New for 2012, all 78 of Oglebay's larger-than-life light displays have gone "green" with the use of LED lighting, said Caren Knoyer, Oglebay marketing director.
"The colors are brighter and remain vibrant. The LEDs are so much better for the environment, and last five times longer than traditional bulbs," she said.
Also new on the Winter Festival of Lights scene for 2012 are three animated LED displays: the amusement park themed "Strong Man" situated next to the "Ferris Wheel" and "Carousel" displays; "Leaping Frog"; and "Volcano," added to the popular "Dinosaur Dell" display.
Winter Festival of Lights' visitors can also check out the "Light and Music Extravaganza" at Oglebay's Good Zoo.
The extravaganza event boasts more than 35,500 LED lights choreographed to holiday music.
"It really is a dynamic show," said Knoyer. "(This year) it's been updated, the choreography is much better and we've added lights."
This year's Winter Festival of Lights will run through Jan. 6. Hours are Sunday to Thursday until 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.
Ohio University's School of Music in Athens will present the Christmas in Russia concert at 8 p.m. Friday at Templeton Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.
"It's the first time in many years that the university is in session during the Christmas holiday," said Steven Huang, OU School of Music conductor. That's due to a transition from quarters to semesters.
Performances will include Vivaldi's "Gloria" and excerpts from Handel's "Messiah" and Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker."
The combined orchestra and choir concert will feature all-student ensembles, as well as world renowned guest conductor Mihail Agafita from the Republic of Moldova, a former Soviet Republic nation.
"It's always an honor to have guest conductors from out of the country," Huang said. "I think he brings a certain amount of authority because of the Russian culture."
Following I-70 to the west, holiday revelers can remember the reason for the season at State Auto's Christmas Corner display in downtown Columbus.
State Auto's famed Nativity display made its debut in the 1950s. It was established by the company's founder Bob Pein "who was a big fan of Christmas," said Debbie Conkel, the company's senior publications editor.
Conkel, who grew up in the Columbus area, remembers the State Auto display from her childhood.
"I can remember (saying) 'That's the Christmas company,'" said Conkel. "It's been a tradition for so many years. We call it our Christmas gift to the community."
The life-size figures in the Nativity display depict some of the events associated with the birth of Jesus Christ.
"It is very carefully and very lovingly put together every year," Conkel said.
Originally located in front of State Auto's building, the Nativity display is now located in Pein Park at the corner of East Broad and North 11th Streets, just east of the State Auto building.
"It definitely behooves people to actually get out of the car and walk through the display," said Conkel. Free parking is available nearby.
State Auto's five-story building at 518 E. Broad St. is also decorated with half a dozen 10-to-12-foot tall nutcrackers that are visible from the street below.
State Auto's Christmas Corner Nativity display and holiday lights run through Jan. 1 from 6 to 8 a.m. and 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. on weekdays, and longer on weekends.