Christmas in Akron is full of lights, snow, and special events. Read about the best of these, including the the Holiday Festival at Lock 3 Park, the "Nutcracker," and the annual First Night Akron celebration. (updated for 2012)
In its 17th year, First Night Akron, is a family-friendly non-alcoholic New Year's Eve Party. Held in a variety of venues throughout downtown Akron, the celebration features more than 70 artists of all genres -- musicians, performance artists, dancers, and more. Admission is $10 and those under 10 are free. Parking is free and a complimentary shuttle is available to take revelers from one fun spot to another.
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens transforms itself each holiday season into a winter wonderland. For 2012, the theme is "Sounds of the Season." There'll be music, trees, lights, and floral decorations. Outside, the gardens will be strung with thousands of glittering lights as well as animated figures from O'Neils Department Store. The museum shop will be open for holiday shopping and the cafe will serve hot chocolate, cookies, and other holiday treats.
The event dates are November 23-25 and 29-30 and December 1-2, 6-9, 13-23, and 26-30 from 5pm to 8pm. Stan Hywet is closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
This month-long celebration begins in November and features an ice-skating rink, a traditional German outdoor Chriskindl Market, a holiday lighting festival, and lots of holiday activities throughout December. The park is one of the concert venues of First Night Akron.
The Ballet Theater of Ohio will present the holiday classic ballet, "The Nutcracker," set to Tchaikovsky's well-loved music, from November 24 to December 2 at the Akron Civic Theater.
On December 9, 15, 16 and 22 (2012), kids can feed the penguins, decorate cookies, sit with Santa, and create a holiday craft at this annual holiday event at the Akron Zoo.
The holiday season at Hale Farm, in Bath, harkens back to the 19th century with Lantern Tours of the historic site, all decked in traditional fashion for the holidays. The dates for 2012 are December 1, 7-8, 14-16, and 18-23.
Take the Cuyahoga Valley Railroad to Heritage Farms to pick out your Christmas tree. The railroad will load it unto the train for you. While in Peninsula, enjoy browsing the many art galleries or have lunch a one of the area's fun restaurants. The train leaves the last weekend in November and the first weekend in December (2012). Call 800 468-4070 or visit their website for more information and for reservations.
Welcome Santa Parade
Help welcome Santa and his helpers into Akron on November 24 (2012) at the annual Santa parade. Watch the floats, bands, and the "Jolly Old Elf" himself. The parade starts at 11am and marches down Main Street in downtown Akron. (Admission is free.)