ZANESVILLE — The holiday season returns to Muskingum County with activities for all ages starting in December as part of Storybook Christmas.
In Zanesville, downtown visitors can get in the spirit during the annual Christmas parade and lighting ceremony at the courthouse at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1.
During the parade, Santa makes his big arrival and plans to stay a little longer this year.
A Santa house is being introduced to the community in front of Secrest Auditorium, sponsored by the Muskingum County Community Foundation and Lowe’s Home Improvement.
Kids can meet with Santa Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 23, from 5 until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturdays.
The rest of downtown will be aglow with lights, decorations, and giant snowmen.
“It takes the whole community, and so it’s really awesome that so many people are really getting into the spirit,” Kelly Ashby, vice president of the Zanesville-Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce.
Vintage holiday decorations and hundreds of lights will be on display at Zane’s Landing Park and business storefronts will be decorated for the season.
Carriage rides will be offered for $5 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17. Reservations are required by calling 740-455-8282.
Christmas characters will be out and about on those dates from 6 to 8 p.m., and carolers will make their rounds throughout downtown from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Both New Concord and Dresden have parades of their own planned.
The New Concord Area Board of Trade Christmas parade is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29, preceded by the East Muskingum annual Christmas Tree Lighting at 6 p.m.
Dresden’s Home for the Holidays parade is 6 p.m. Saturday is Dec. 4.
A holiday booklet provided by the Zanesville-Muskingum County Convention and Visitors Bureau is available at the welcome center and includes full listings of events throughout the county.
“That’s what’s so exciting about Storybook Christmas from when we started this about six years ago with the courthouse lights, it’s really grown into all of these activities that you see in the booklet,” Ashby said.
The booklet is also available online at www.visitzanesville.com.