Tallmadge -- The community is kicking off the Christmas season Dec. 2 with two annual events: a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Tallmadge Community Center and a tree-lighting ceremony on the Circle.
St. Nick is expected to make his grand entrance by riding around the Circle in the fire department's ladder truck before arriving at the Community Center at 1 p.m., where he'll join his wife. Families should be at the Community Center by 12:50 p.m. to see the jolly old soul's arrival.
Once inside, children can sit on Santa's lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. A professional photographer will document the experience and sell photos of the kids with Santa, or parents can take their own photos.
Children also can make crafts, sponsored by a ChildScape Learn and Grow, and enjoy hot chocolate and refreshments, donated by Giant Eagle and Acme Fresh Market, during this free event.
Mary Cea, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said she is looking forward to having "a nice crowd this year," as she expects at least 200 children to attend.
Several prizes will be raffled, including a wreath with lottery tickets and gift baskets from various businesses. The ultimate prize is a Christmas tree currently on display at the Community Center, which is decorated with ornaments and Tallmadge apparel.
Raffle tickets are available for purchase at the Chamber of Commerce Monday through Friday until 1 p.m. Proceeds from the ticket sale will benefit Tallmadge Good Neighbors.
If raffle winners aren't present, they'll be notified via phone.
Community members also are encouraged to take a canned food item or a toy to donate to the nonprofit organization.
Cea said she would like to thank individual community members, businesses and organizations for helping make the celebration possible with their donations and attendance at the event.
"Without the community's help and the community's attendance, this event would not happen," she said.
Santa's visit will end at 3 p.m.
tree-lighting at Circle
The festivities will continue on the Circle when the Tallmadge High School Acapella Singers perform a holiday concert at 4 p.m. at the Historic Church. Peter Culver, director of vocal music at the high school, will direct the choir.
"We are a completely unaccompanied group of singers, which requires a much higher degree of musicianship from the individual singers," Culver said. "This the Acapella Singers third year providing the entire concert for the lighting ceremony."
The group will perform between nine and 13 pieces of music during the 25-minute concert, and for some of the songs, background information will be presented.
"We try to keep some of the music similar from year to year, as well as add a few new numbers that we have never performed within the last three years," Culver said. "This year we have a few new songs in our lineup, including a slow and jazzy arrangement of 'I'll Be Home for Christmas,' 'Sing We Now of Christmas,' 'Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming,' and a jazzy, quasi-Caribbean arrangement of 'Deck the Hall.'"
Concertgoers may park at Key Bank, 76 Tallmadge Circle. A police officer will help people cross the road to get to the park.
"Sitting in the beautiful historical church lit by candlelight and hearing the talented voices of our high schoolers singing beautiful Christmas music makes for a magical evening," Mayor Dave Kline said.
"We're just so fortunate to have the musical program that we do in the Tallmadge Schools, and this is [the community's] opportunity to hear the a capella chorus under Peter Culvert," added Carolyn Mackey, Tallmadge Historical Society president. "It is a nice family event to start off Christmas."
After the performance, everyone will gather in Memorial Park on the Circle for the lighting of the trees, including the 30-foot tall Christmas tree covered with white LED lights. Kline will flip the switch to illuminate the park.
While the tall tree is the focal point of the Circle, new decorations include garland strands with white lights and bows on the light poles and 4,500 multicolored LED lights on the pine trees along the perimeter. Cheryl Esler, who works as an administrative assistant in the city's Street Department, made the wreath that's on back of the church that faces the Circle.
"They are our first multi-color LED lights, and we are all excited to see how beautiful they will be," said Karen Morgan, who works in the mayor's office and is a member of the committee that decides on how the Circle is decorated. "We in the city are proud of the Circle and its historical significance so working together to make it special for the holidays and our residents is a joy for all of us."
Spectators are then invited to the Old Town Hall to enjoy refreshments, including Christmas cookies, and tour the Museum.
The halls of the church and the first floor of the Old Town Hall will be decorated for the celebration.