We’re just hours away from Gahanna’s largest annual holiday event … the 2015 Visit Gahanna Holiday Lights Celebration! (Yay!) The event will be held from 3-7:30 pm Sunday, November 22. The Gahanna OH Convention & Visitors Bureau team (who put on this event each year) is beyond excited about this year’s celebration and some exciting new changes—inspired by feedback we received from visitors in past years.
Traditionally, Holiday Lights has been a 30-minute parade that lined the streets of Gahanna’s Creekside District with shivering visitors on cold curbs who packed up and headed home right after the parade ended. This year, the event will offer 4 ½ hours of activities, music, food and FREE family fun in sort of a “deconstructed parade” format. All of the elements previously included in the parade will be there … along with opportunities to get “up close and personal” with parade floats and oodles of hands-on activities to enhance the visitor experience! To plan YOUR Holiday Lights adventure, download the Map & Activity Listing guide from www.VisitGahanna.com in advance. You also can pick up a print copy beforehand from participating businesses, or get a map on Sunday from one of our many wandering ambassadors.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you attend the event …
- Arriving & Parking. If you are using your GPS to navigate your arrival to Gahanna’s Creekside District (around 117 Mill St), please note these street closings. Several of the side streets in the District (including Town St. between Mill St. and High St.) will close at 10 am on Sunday morning. Additionally, the city parking lot at Town & High Streets will close at 7 am Sunday for the “Touch-a-Truck” display set-up. Mill Street (between Granville/US 62 & Walnut Streets) will close at 1 pm. (This means no left turns onto Mill St. from eastbound Granville/US 62) after 1 pm.
Free public parking will be available at Jefferson Elementary School, Friendship Park, the VFW Memorial Park, the Gahanna Municipal Golf Course, and Shull Park. Additionally, parking is available in the Creekside Parking Garage for $5 per car. (Enter from the north end of Mill St.)
- Get in the Holiday spirit with LIVE music! Holiday Lights comes with its own LIVE soundtrack this year, providing hours of talented musicians and performers including Strolling Carolers from Ohio Dominican University and Capital University; Gahanna Lincoln Orchestral Quartet and Orchestra; Michelle Tuesday Flute Choir; Stonybrook United Methodist Church Brass Quintet & Cantata Choir; Gahanna Jr. Drill Team; Gahanna Square Dancers; St. Matthew Youth & Handbell Choirs; and Dollenmayer Dance Studio dancers. (Check the schedule for times.)
- Use the Hashtag: #GahannaHolidayLights! Can you believe that sharing a handful of selfies could possibly score you a 32” Flat Screen TV? Visit our 7 “Selfie Stations,” and tag your pics with #GahannaHolidayLights on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter! Then head over to “Santa’s Marketplace” at Creekside Plaza and register for our drawing for a 32″ flat screen TV! Yes, one lucky winner will receive an AWESOME gift! (See map for locations.)
- Come Hungry! Savor the flavors of the holidays at Gahanna’s many Creekside area restaurants, as well as Holiday Lights food vendors including Mi Tradicion, Hot Chicken Takeover, Schmidt’s, Cosmic Kettlecorn, Sock Hop Soda Shop, BapGap Concessions, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Buster Mac’s and Blank Slate Coffee. Additionally, 15 Creekside businesses are offering Open Houses with refreshments and guests at Signatures can make S’Mores on the restaurant’s patio! (How fun is THAT?!)
- 90 Activities & SHOPPING! There will be no shortage of things to do. Enjoy hands-on crafts, a Mascot Meet-and-Greet, open houses at the Gahanna Historical Settlement, free holiday movie screenings & popcorn at Infinite Church, a game truck and MORE! Shoppers can get started on their holiday gift purchases, shopping great vendors like The Boutique Truck, Stacy’s Beads, The Sweater Lady, Rustic Apple Art, Just Elayne Naturals and more.
- LIVE Animals! Don’t miss the Reindeer Petting Zoo and LIVE nativity (presented by Lew Griffin Insurance and Stonybrook United Methodist Church) from 3 to 6 p.m.; Pony Rides (presented by the Gahanna Chamber of Commerce and Toyota Direct); and Carriage Rides (presented by Benchmark Bank).
- Santa’s Marketplace. Located at 117 Mill St. (in the former Bread Basket location at Creekside Plaza) will be Santa’s Marketplace. Here visitors can shop for “Secret Santa” gifts and Vintage Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival T-shirts (nothing over $5); buy tickets for the Dec. 12 Holiday Character Breakfast; register for the Dec. 5 Santa Race 5K & Little Reindeer Dash; and show your selfies to be registered for the Flat Screen TV drawing. Art Garden Studios will also be offering a make-your-own gift bag craft here.
- Visit from Santa! According to the North Pole, Santa’s ETA is 6 pm Sunday. He’ll arrive on a fire truck (courtesy of Mifflin Twp Fire Division), led by the GLHS Marching Band (appearing courtesy of Suburban Steel) and the Airport Stryker Truck (blowing snow to make Santa feel more at home). Santa will then light the Community Tree at Creekside Plaza and spend a little time visiting with kids at the Berkshire Hathaway office at Creekside.
- Gingerbread House Contest! Stop by the Berkshire Hathaway offices at Creekside Plaza to see the AMAZING Gingerbread House entries in our 2015 Gingerbread House Contest (sponsored by Young Chef’s Academy). Vote for your favorites by dropping coins or dollars into the box next to each entry. All proceeds will go to GRIN (Gahanna Residents in Need). Then decorate a cookie with the Young Chef’s Team at their tent on Creekside Plaza!
- Share the Magic! Visit Gahanna is proud to partner with many local organizations at the 2015 Holiday Light Celebration to benefit people near and far this holiday season. Bring a non-perishable food donation to GRIN or sign up to adopt a family for the holidays; buy a poinsettia plant or wreath from Gahanna Masons; bring paper clips to donate to the Gahanna Lincoln High School’s class project to help students reach their goal to collect 6 million paper clips; or join our friends from CenterPoint Church at their booth on Mill St. and write a letter to a member of the US Military to brighten their holidays!
Best of all, activities at the 2015 @VisitGahanna Holiday Lights Celebration are FREE! To learn more, download the Holiday Lights Event Map, check out VisitGahanna.com, follow @VisitGahanna on Facebook or call 614/418-9114! See ya Sunday!