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Windham resident Owen Duncan hammed it up for the cameras as he sat on Santa’s lap surrounded by all of the Christmas hoopla at the Windham United Methodist Church’s “Breakfast with Santa” last Saturday held at the Renassaince Family Center. Owen is almost two years old, loves trucks and was totally facinated with all the lights.

Windham - Last Saturday the United Methodist Church (UMC) in Windham kicked off the holiday season by hosting breakfast with Santa, letter writing to Santa, crafts and an opportunity for boys and girls to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas.  On the breakfast menu were French toast stix, egg casserole, fruit and juice, which were shared with about 50 kids. The church had craft tables set up for the kids to make crafts and write a letter to Santa.

The children were all lined up eager to have their turn sitting on Santa’s lap and to tell him all their greatest wishes. Each child received a gift bag with crayons, coloring books,  an orange, and candy canes. The breakfast with Santa was held at the Renaissance Family Center (RFC) in conjunction with their craft show.


Middlefield – Come visit Vancura Gallery at 14279 Old State Road, Middlefield during our 4th annual Christmas in the Country on Friday and Saturday December 3rd and 4th and 10th and 11th. The lineup this year includes: Amish feather painter Ben Miller, music duo Amy Timco and her father Jeff Hise, well-known published area artist Florian Lawton, candle smoke artist Laura Fields, and Somerset-published artist James Seward. These artists will be available for meet-and-greet, sales, and demonstrations.

Purchase your raffle ticket for a chance to win a dinner for two at Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen, a sleigh ride for two from Ma and Pa’s gift shack, and an overnight stay at the Red Maple Inn. Ticket price is $3.00 per ticket. Raffle tickets are also for sale for a custom framed giclee Christmas print painted by Greenwich Workshop artist Paul Landry. This art piece is valued at $500. Ticket price are $1.00 per ticket or 10 for $5.00.

All this money goes to two Middlefield Police Charities which are: Shop with a Cop and Middlefield Cares! (the area food cupboard) Refreshments, Christmas fun, artists, raffles, live Christmas carols  and unique Christmas gifts will be available at Vancura Gallery during Christmas in the Country.  Enjoy old-fashion friendly service, no long lines and plenty of parking, and smiles

Call Vancura Gallery at (440) 632-1124 for more details and times, or visit us on line at www.vancuragallery.com, or Settlers’ Village on facebook or in person at 14279 Old State Road, Middlefield 44062.


Windham – Santa will be stopping by the Windham Library on Wednesday, December 16 at 6:00 pm. Children from birth to age 17 can have their picture taken for free (limit 1 per child).  On Tuesday, December 21 from 11:00-4:00 pm children are invited to “Holiday Happiness”.  During this time they can make and wrap presents to give to family members.  Windham Library wishes all a happy holiday season and would like to take this opportunity to remind you we will be closed on the following dates:  December 24, 25 and 31.

For more information, call the Windham Library at 330-326-3145.  The library, located at 9647 East Center Street, is open Monday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; Tuesday, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; Thursday, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; Friday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. For additional information about library programs and services, please Portage County District Library online at www.portagelibrary.org.

Ravenna – Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be stressful. After more than 29 years as a family celebration in downtown Ravenna, Midnight Madness has proven it.  It’s that time of year when local merchants stay open until midnight to welcome shoppers and diners. Some merchants will be serving light refreshments and be decorated for the holiday season. Enjoy this spirit of the holidays with decorative greens and holiday lights in downtown Ravenna.

Sponsored by the Ravenna Merchant Association and the Ravenna Area Chamber of Commerce, the late night shopping spree is intended to initiate holiday gift-hunting and seasonal cheer.

“It’s the single best sales night of the year” said to Jack Ferguson, executive director at the Chamber of Commerce. “Many downtown merchants do more than 25 percent of their Christmas business on this night.” Plus the Ravenna Balloon A-Fair annual Christmas Parade “Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child”, will step off at 7PM.

As is the case with the entire holiday season, however, Midnight Madness isn’t just about shopping.

The M & M Railroad train and Fire Engine will parade through the streets between 6 and 8 p.m., offering free rides to anyone and everyone Friday night.

Bring your lawn chairs and join in the singing of Christmas Carols as The Ravenna High School performs on the courthouse lawn.

In addition, Santa & Mrs. Claus will meet with children of all ages immediately after the Christmas parade to learn what they wish for during the holiday season. Santa will be  at the Buckeye Mini Mall, located at 250 Main Street.

The evening has become a tradition in the community. Over the years, some of the participating merchants, all of which will be open until midnight, have developed traditions of their own.

For more details call the Ravenna Chamber of Commerce at (330) 296-3886 Monday – Friday 9 am to 1 pm.

Burton – The holiday season is fast approaching.  Historic Burton, Ohio, has so many ways for you to celebrate this magical time of year.  Mark your calendar for the weekend of November 26 as the beginning of all the fun.

The festivities start on Friday, November 26, from 9 am until Noon at the Geauga County Historical Society’s Century Village at 14653 Park Street.  Here you can have a pancake breakfast while visiting Santa, peruse a holiday gift store and take a wagon ride, if the weather permits.  Also be sure to make a card to send to a soldier, as that is so important to do this time of year.

Reservations are requested and can be made by calling 440-834-1492.  The cost is $7 for adults, $4 for children 6 to 12 years old and free for children under 6.  Sorry, but no member discounts can be used for this event.

Later that evening, stop by the Gazebo in the park to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree.  After the lighting of the tree, there will be caroling and then refreshments at the Burton Congregational Church.  This event is free and starts at 6 pm.

There will be other events happening around the square all weekend, such as live music at Coffee Corners, hot chocolate and cookies with Santa in the afternoon at the Log Cabin, special events and demonstrations at many of the local stores and a gingerbread house display at the Burton Public Library.  You can also drive east on Route 87 a little ways to White House Chocolates to watch candies being made from 10 am until 6 pm (White House Chocolates is closed on Sunday).

Santa stops by Burton again on November 27 at the Atwood-Mauck American Legion Post 459 located at 14052 Goodwin Street in Burton.  Here is another chance to have breakfast with the jolly man in the red suit from 9 am until 1 pm.  You can even do some gift shopping at the craft fair that runs from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday at the post.   Proceeds from this event will benefit Atwood-Mauck’s scholarship fund.  The cost to have breakfast with Santa is $6 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 12 and free to children 5 and younger.  You can reach the American Legion hall at 440-834-8764 with any questions.

On Sunday, November 28, you can visit the Crossroads Country Store at Century Village from 10 am until 5 pm.  Santa has also set up shop there with lots of Christmas goodies and you can visit Santa at the Log Cabin from 12 pm until 4 pm.

If, perhaps, you cannot get to Burton on the weekend of November 26, you can enjoy many of the Burton activities again the following weekend on Saturday, December 4 and 5.  The gingerbread houses will still be on display at the library, Santa will visit the Log Cabin in the afternoons, hot chocolate and cookies will also be available there, and Coffee Corners will be having live music.  White House Chocolates will be making chocolate candies on Saturday also.

On Sunday, December 4, the Red Maple Inn (just south of Burton Square) will be hosting a Christmas Floral Design Show and Luncheon from 10:30 am until 1 pm.  Seating is limited and reservations are required.  Please call A.H. Christianson’s at 440-834-9760 to make your reservations for this delightful event.

As you can see, the people and businesses of Burton are full of Christmas spirit and they want to share it with you.  Any one of these events, or a few, are a great way to get into the holiday mood, so think about coming out to Burton and visiting with Santa, enjoying some treats and doing a little shopping.  A good time will be had by all.


Mantua – Looking for a beautiful gift idea? St. Joseph Church in Mantua has a limited number of their parish cookbooks, “Taste and See – St. Joseph’s Labor of Love”, available for just $15.00 each. With contributions from families and friends of The Parish Community of St. Joseph, this wonderful collection of nearly 500 treasured family recipes will be a useful keepsake of many favorite culinary creations. This fundraising effort features a padded 3-ring cover in full color, 8 category tabbed dividers, helpful hints and an alphabetized index – great for gift giving! Proceeds from this endeavor will benefit the parish’s  Appalachian Experience group and their annual work with the Housing Repair Program in Clintwood, VA. To purchase the cookbooks, please contact St. Joseph Church’s parish office at 330-274-2253 or you may mail your $19.00 check (includes $4.00 shipping & handling) to: St. Joseph Church, 11045 St. Joseph Blvd., Mantua, OH 44255 (Attn: Kathi). Your support is greatly appreciated.


Newton Falls – There are lots of exciting things happening with Home 44444 the Holidays!

The Jr and Sr high band and choir concerts will take place on December 11th during Home 44444 the Holidays.  The craft show has 111 tables with over 80 vendors.  The children’s area will have various crafts including face painting, the opportunity to make a card for our troops or friends in the nursing home, a bouncy house, ident a kits, and much more.   The Western Reserve Modular Railroad Club will have a very nice set up at the event as well.  You can also purchase your 2011 Newton Falls Calendar with the artwork of Ed Sinchak, a retired Newton Falls art teacher brought to you by the Newton Township Cemetery Association.

We have partnered with the police fill a cruiser program and the Newton Falls Schools to fill a bus.  You can drop off food donations on Friday the 10th as well as bring them with you on the 11th.

December 4th come out at 5:30 pm and help welcome Santa to Newton Falls!  He will be arriving in the sixth annual Christmas parade.  Then gather around for the tree lighting and caroling.  If you are interested in caroling in the parade please see the website for more information.

Want an easy way to win 25.00 and a Home 44444 the Holidays T shirt.  Check out the website for information about the links for fun contest.

Full details about all activities can be found at www.home44444theholidays.com.

Garrettsville – The turkey has been eaten, pie plates hold nothing but the remaining crumbs, Thanksgiving has passed, and Christmas is yet to come. What better way to start off your Christmas season than to attend Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce’s annual Holiday Lighting ceremony!

Bring your family to celebrate this tradition that began in 2001 as a way to bring some cheer back into the community after the September 11th tragedy. That first year a tree was lit downtown and shops were decorated for the season. Unfortunately, a blizzard kept most people from coming out to celebrate that first year, but future years have seen a rise in community attendance.

The second year of the lighting ceremony also included a Holiday Social at the high school, which has since been taken over by the Curtains Up Theatre. Each year Chamber adds something new to the lighting ceremony. What began with the tree now includes the Clock Tower and surrounding bushes and the Police Department.

What holiday event would be complete without caroling, cookies and a special visit from the man in red? Santa arrives each year in the bucket lift of a fire truck, coming down Main Street to arrive in front of the Clock Tower to greet each child, get a heads up on their wish list and pass out a treat.

Grab your boots, your camera, and your family, even the neighbor, and head down to Garrettsville Chamber’s Holiday Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, November 27th at 6pm at the Clock Tower on High Street.

“And he did hear a sound rising over the snow. It started in low. Then it started to grow.” Join in the holiday caroling and wish your neighbors goodwill.

The Christmas Walk must be over; a cat just upchucked on the carpet.

They’ve been ticked off for two week-ends now at being shut down in the basement. The saying is that “revenge is sweet” but that’s not quite how I’d describe this ( I’ll spare you how I would describe it.).

All-in-all, that’s pretty small potatoes compared to what could have gone wrong at any number of places (The quilt-rack falling down doesn’t count, since I didn’t see it happen…or even hear of it until long after). Nobody slipped and fell, nobody wandered down and toppled into the creek with the beavers, nobody made off with any of the silver( Nobody definitively figured out what the big spoon was in the place setting either. There were several good guesses, however.) Most of the time I remembered to plug and unplug lights at the appointed times (I could stand to skip my electric bill this month; it’s sure to be astronomical). A couple of nights the candle set up in the attic window had shone long after the closing bell but there were no complaints that I know of.

Got to try a new recipe or two, one for distribution to the walkers-through and one for the small party on Sunday night : Imperial Cereal ( Picked up from a mystery series by Joanne Fluke; none of the mysteries involved poisoning) and one from the AB-J food section ( How could I not try something named “Cranberry Jezebel”? Combines cranberry, mustard and horseradish–that’ll set your sinuses free!). Nobody…so far…has suffered any ill effects from chowing down on those and we even gave out copies of the munchie cereal one to several aficionados who went through. The chocolate items went pretty fast too but I think that MacKenzie Bray was pushing those when she was at the counter–an eleven-year old can be very persuasive. She almost convinced me to let her have the latest kitten that’s in the garage but I have the feeling that her mother and dad would hunt me down for pulling a stunt like that.
One of the things that pleased me most about the entire project was the fact that so much of the work was done by local people–former students, even! Porter Construction, Goodnight’s Kitchen & Bath, Scotchman Electric, Silver Creek Plumbing, Terry McCone on the gutters, Rob Maur Excavating, Bret Pesicek on the concrete work, Bob Lavery’s Nature’s Carpet for the remarkable landscaping, Silver Frog Studios for framing, Jim Knowlton for the addition plans, probably more that I cannot remember. Good people, good work can be found at home if you look around you.

And for the actual DECORATING–the above was construction stuff–Good Grief! The borrowing going on was simply amazing. The Pelfreys will be sitting around a whispy little pine branch with four glass ornaments, used tinsel, and a Ray-O-Vac keychain light because so much of their stuff is over here. Art-N-Flowers did all of the wreaths, swags, roping and arrangements that graced the mansion–made it smell pretty good too (That’s above and beyond the cats, of course.). The Vancura Gallery of Fine Art and Framing still has an eye-catcher or two…maybe three… on display at their establishment but the ones here definitely made an impression( I liked the one of Shakespeare’s characters called “All the World’s a Stage”; you could see Julius Caesar with daggers in his back and Cleopatra with her asp–nothing like a great asp to make a picture!).Their Santa picture by Christianson was perfect, even matched the color scheme.

I had a fine time! Except for the time out to eat breakfast on the first Saturday (I skipped it on the second one so we could go directly to the uber-tasty Methodist lunch) and the time out to tour the whole shebang with my mother and sisters and niece, I got to talk to just about every one who came through–same old stories, new listeners–over the course of the whole seven days. Every Friday and Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon somebody would show up at my door and proceed to straighten up and plug in and get things going. What’s not to like? Some of the volunteers got so good that I expected them to start telling stories from my childhood that even I don’t remember. My favorite was the Thursday evening candlelight tour when the outside lights were more featured; harder to see dirt then too.

The Grand Pooh-Bah of decorating, may have to take to his bed with a monstrous case of the vapors–that and a new job– from the over-exertion of putting this all together but it’s dollars to doughnuts that some type of festivity (not counting the Twentieth Century Club Christmas party) will be scheduled here during the holiday season. Bring It On, I say. In for a penny, in for a pound. Sooner be shot for a sheep as a lamb. *————*————–* (Your saying here)

Thanks, everyone.
Joyeux Noel!