Dazzling bridges, skating, lights, gingerbread, U-Pick trees (and Santa too!)

MARYSVILLE – Located just west of Columbus, visitors to Union County in central Ohio this holiday season will be delighted with an unforgettable getaway that blends beloved traditions with a sprinkling of new, unusual and even high-tech memory-makers.

MERRY AND BRIGHT BRIDGES AND WONDERLAND PARKS

A pair of historic covered bridges will be decorated with thousands of twinkling lights, welcoming visitors with magnificent photo opportunities. The Pottersburg Bridge, 17141 Inskeep-Cratty Rd. in North Lewisburg, and the Bigelow Bridge, just north of State Route 161 on Ax Handle Rd. in Milford Center, highlight this year’s Merry and Bright Bridges tour. See this and more on the new Covered Bridge Trail. Visitors are encouraged to share their glittery photos of the bridge and have fun using the hashtags #UCCoveredBridges and #unioncountyohio.

Experience a traditional small-town parade in Richwood culminating in the flip of the switch that transforms beautiful Richwood Lake Park into a Christmas wonderland. Also, don’t miss Pastime Park in Plain City in all its Christmas glory! Holiday lights will stay on at both parks through January.

BUILD VALUABLE MEMORIES AND SHOP LOCAL

Families can pick up the one-of-a-kind Union County Gingerbread Covered Bridge Kit, a collaboration of Marysville’s Kitschen Bakery and Wicked Treats Boutique candy store. The kit includes freshly baked gingerbread bridge pieces, candy decorations, and everything needed to build a gingerbread bridge. Kits are $25 and are available through December 23, while supplies last, at the 1820 Union Station Welcome Center, Kitschen Bakery, Wicked Treats Boutique or online. Families are encouraged to celebrate their creativity by sharing their photos of the Gingerbread Covered Bridge on social media using the hashtags #unioncountyohio and #gingerbridge.

Small Business Saturday is celebrated in a big way in Union County this coming Saturday. Its myriad boutiques, country markets, antique shops and other inimitable retailers, including OM Scott’s original 1868 hardware store, now Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Store, are perfect for finding truly unique holiday gifts and decorations.

U-PICK CHRISTMAS TREES THAT MEET GRISWOLD STANDARDS

There’s nothing like the thrill of the hunt when looking for the perfect Christmas tree. With four Christmas tree farms offering everything from U-pick trees to fresh wreaths and garlands to hot chocolate, you’ll soon have a home scented with fresh pine and a heart full of cherished memories.

HOLLYWOOD HOLIDAY BOX OFFICE

Do you love the music to “White Christmas,” have you memorized every word of “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation,” and feel your heart grow three sizes too with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas?” Escape the hustle and bustle of the holidays, kick back and enjoy these classics at the newly renovated Avalon Theater in Marysville. Visit www.theavalontheatre.org for show dates and times.

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN

The magic of the season begins with the generations-old Uptown Marysville Holiday Walk on Monday, November 28, from 5-8 p.m. Musicians, costumed characters, horse-drawn carriage rides, prizes, and photos with Saint Nicholas himself greet visitors.

The countdown to Christmas begins when the switch is flipped on the massive 30-foot Marysville community Christmas tree. Uptown merchants will stay open late into the night, offering coffee, cookies, special discounts and displays highlighting the ideal “buy local” holiday gifts. The excitement of Uptown Marysville continues throughout the season and is reignited on December 4 with the annual Marysville Elks Christmas Parade.

In addition to that giant Christmas tree, Santa’s Village features Santa’s House, festive music and sparkling holiday lights, as well as free visits with Santa to create holiday memories families will cherish forever. Santa is available in the Village from November 28 to December 24, but the fun continues through January 2 with Merry on Main Iceless Ice Skating, and loaner skates are offered FREE to visitors, from December 10 to December 2. January, except Christmas Day. .

Instead of using real ice, the high-tech touch to the long-loved festive ice rink is constructed with synthetic polymer sheet panels that reduce surface friction just like the real thing. It is now a popular training tool for professional, Olympian and other competitive hockey players and figure skaters. Because it doesn’t require frozen water, the track is unaffected by temperature and is protected from rain and snow by the Memorial Health Pavilion.

Complete information on holiday getaways in Union County, including Santa Claus visiting hours and more, can be found at www.visitunioncountyohio.org.

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