Kick-off the holiday season at the annual Light Up Fairfield celebration on Dec. 2. CONTRIBUTED

Area tree lightings, carriage rides and Santa to welcome the holidays

Many communities throughout southwest Ohio will kick off the holiday season with tree lightings, carriage rides, visits from Santa, live entertainment and other festivities.

Get in the holiday spirit and check out these following area tree lightings and family-friendly celebrations.

Christmas in Historic Springboro is a three-day holiday event that attracts more than 70,000 guests annually. The 2017 Christmas in Historic Springboro will be held the weekend before Thanksgiving, on Nov. 17-19. This year’s theme will be “All Aboard the Polar Express.” Festival hours are Friday, Nov. 17 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and opening ceremonies will begin on Friday at 6:45 p.m.; Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and the parade will begin on Saturday at noon; Sunday hours are noon to 5 p.m. Christmas in Historic Springboro takes place in the heart of Springboro, stretching down Main Street (Route 741) from Central Avenue (Route 73) to Lower Springboro Road. (Note: There will not be a 5K this year.) More details at www.springborofestivals.org.

Carriage rides and Santa’s arrival will help to welcome the holidays in Hamilton as part of the annual tree lighting ceremony, which will be held at the Butler County Courthouse on Saturday, Nov. 18, starting at 5:30 p.m. in Downtown Hamilton. The family-friendly event is free. The program will begin about 5:30 p.m. with caroling on the courthouse steps. Santa arrives around 6 p.m. to light the tree. Then, Santa will visit with children at the gazebo until about 7:30 p.m. The program will be held on the courthouse steps on High Street. Downtown stores will be open during the event. (Streets will be closed from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) Visit www.hamilton-city.org.

The nighttime holiday parade starts at 7 p.m. and runs along Cincinnati-Dayton Road to the West Chester Twp. Administration Building, where the community tree lighting will take place around 8 p.m. The Merchants of Olde West Chester will host a free, family-friendly community event during the day, beginning at 2 p.m., along Cincinnati Dayton Road. Photos with Santa, shopping, kids’ games and crafts, a petting zoo, horse-and-wagon rides, food, beverages, live music and more. (Note: Cincinnati Dayton Road from Cresthaven Avenue to West Chester Road will be closed from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for the parade.) The holiday-inspired festivities run from 2-8 p.m. Details at www.westchesteroh.org.

This annual holiday parade and tree lighting at Liberty Center will kick-off the holiday season for the community on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. Santa will arrive in the living room, carriage rides in the Park, and a performance by Amy and the Arrangements in the Square will start at 7 p.m. Starting at noon, there will be live performances and North Pole Guest Appearances in the Square. Santa’s helpers will gather in the Cub Clubhouse from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. for cookie decorating and the movie “Elf.” Go to www.liberty-center.com for more information.

Lebanon’s annual tree lighting, Holiday Illumination, will ring in the holiday season on Friday, Nov. 24 at 6:30 p.m. with Mayor Amy Brewer and go until about 8 p.m. in Downtown Lebanon at Christmas Tree Park (at the corner of Main Street and Broadway.) Lebanon’s annual Christmas tree lighting will include free horse-drawn carriage rides and Santa in City Hall. The Downtown shops will also be open late. Free and open to the public. Visit www.lebanonohio.gov for details. There will also be other events throughout the weekend, Nov. 24-26. Check out Main Street Lebanon for additional highlights at www.mainstreetlebanon.org.

Middletown’s annual Santa Parade on at 3 p.m. is a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday season. The parade route begins on South Broad Street to North Broad Street, ending at Manchester Avenue. Visit with Santa at Governor’s Square following the parade. Also, check out Light up Middletown at Smith Park (cost by donation, www.lightupmiddletown.org) on your way home.

Shandon, Ohio’s first Welsh settlement will host its annual old-fashioned Christmas in the Country on Saturday, Nov. 25 and Sunday, Nov. 26. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The celebration will be held in Downtown Shandon and at St. Aloysius Church on Chapel Road. There will be food, music, antiques, crafts and free horse-drawn carriage rides. Welsh cakes and other home-cooked food, as well as arts and crafts at St. Aloysius Church on Chapel Road and at the Shandon Congregational Church’s Community House in downtown Shandon. Visit Santa Claus at the Old Fire House (11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. on Sunday). The Butler County Visitor’s Bureau has details at www.gettothebc.com.

Waynesville takes on a nostalgic feeling of Christmas past as the downtown is adorned in traditional holiday décor. Visit this holiday season for a celebration that includes live entertainment, strolling throughout the downtown, in a heated entertainment tent, and across various store fronts throughout downtown. Santa Claus will arrive daily, making a grand entrance with the Wayne Twp. Fire Department. Call (513) 897-8855 or visit www.waynesvilleohio.com.

Join family and friends for Mason’s Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Mason’s Downtown Plaza, 115 Reading Road. The city’s 2017 Christmas in Mason Calendar will be available at the event. Go to www.imaginemason.org for more.

Join the tree-lighting ceremony and holiday celebration from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1 at Monroe’s City Building Plaza, 233 S. Main St. There will be a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus., refreshments and live music. The Monroe Historical Society will also be open. Stop by and see the museum filled with vintage decorations at 10 E. Elm St. Go to www.monroe2017.org for details.

Kick-off the holiday season at the annual Light Up Fairfield celebration. Activities take place at the Fairfield Community Arts Center, Village Green and at the Fairfield Lane Library. Help Santa welcome the holiday season and light up the tree on the Village Green Amphitheater stage. Highlights will include a Holiday Market and a Winter Farmers Market at the Fairfield Community Arts Center from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; visits with Santa and Festival of Trees from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fairfield Community Arts Center Art Gallery; Yuletide Brass will perform at Village Green from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Fairfield Starz Dance will perform at Village Green at 4:30 p.m.; Fairfield Choraliers and Rhythm Express will perform at Village Green at 5 p.m. and Santa will arrive in the park and the tree lighting ceremony with Mayor Steve Miller will be held at 5:30 p.m. More info. at www.fairfield-city.org/LightUp.

The Oxford Holiday Festival will feature a spectacular line-up of holiday events throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, including festivities at the Oxford Community Arts Center (10 S. College Ave.) and at Uptown Parks (High Street and Main Street.) Oxford Community Arts Center events will include a Talawanda Band Boosters Craft Market from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; pictures with Santa from noon to 2 p.m. and Kids Korner from noon to 3 p.m. (with supervised activities for children.) Highlights at Uptown Parks will include musical entertainment from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; live reindeer from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; an ice skating rink from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; carriage rides from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Santa’s arrival by fire truck at 6:30 p.m. and pictures with Santa from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. www.cityofoxford.org has the details and updates.

The Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce will present the 29th Annual Lebanon Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival. The event, always held the first Saturday of December, takes place in downtown Lebanon from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Christmas Festival begins at 10 a.m. and will feature food and craft vendors, as well as live entertainment throughout the day. The highlights of the event are the 1 p.m. afternoon carriage parade and the 7 p.m. candlelit, evening parade. Each parade will feature over 100 decorated horse-drawn carriages. More details at www.lebanonchamber.org.

Bells on horse-drawn carriages will ring during the 26th Annual German Village Christmas Walk on Sunday, Dec. 3 from noon to 5 p.m. Tour Hamilton’s historic German Village. Listen to strolling musicians in Dickens attire and take a carriage ride. Tours will include 27 stops, such as Butler County Historical Museum, Lane Hooven House, St. Julie Billiart Church and the Carriage House as well as residences, businesses and other historic buildings that will be decorated in Victorian splendor. www.gettothebc.com for details.

Celebrate the holiday season in Trenton at Barn-N-Bunk Farm Market on Saturday, Dec. 9 from noon to 4 p.m. with free activities and festivities for all ages. See Santa, the Grinch, and get a free picture. Enjoy face painting, cookie decorating, door prizes, delicious food, and visit various vendors and business’s in the barn. Participate in the parade around Barn-N-Bunk to make for a fun-filled holiday-themed event. Call (513) 988-6306 for more info.

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