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Create Memories this Holiday Season in Shores & Islands Ohio

Christmas tree lighting in downtown Vermillion in Shores & Islands Ohio

This holiday season, don’t stress out over your home decorations, being the best host, or even finding that perfect gift. Instead, relax and expERIEnce the season in Shores & Islands Ohio.

There are a number of community festivals to attend where there are generally kids’ activities, entertainment, and local vendors to support. Coming up in December is Port Clinton’s Community Christmas, Huron Winterfest, Light Up Vermilion, Lakeside Christmas (no gate fees outside of Chautauqua season), Milan’s Hometown Holidays, and Sandusky’s Winter Wonderland event at the Jackson Street Pier. The Holiday Market at Gideon Owen Wine Company is an old-world European-style Christmas market and takes place for three weekends, November 24-December 10.

Explore and enjoy a number of local light displays, including several free light shows synced with holiday music. Sandusky’s Washington Park is filled with decorations and lights and the adjacent Merry-Go-Round Museum offers a nightly light show on the exterior of its building. Ghostly Manor Thrill Center has a similar show, synced to a radio station so you can enjoy the entertainment of dancing lights from the cozy comfort of your car. Be sure to also drive through the amazing outdoor decorations at the Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron. They offer a “Twelve Days of Christmas” display along the drive from the resort to Mulligan’s Pub, where you’ll find not only an amazing light show on the exterior, but a fun pop-up Christmas bar inside with special holiday drinks and trivia.

If you enjoy a drive-through light display, the Erie County Fairgrounds in Sandusky offers Lake Erie in Lights, sponsored by Ability Works, Inc., a holiday drive with more than a million twinkling lights. The display will be open Thursday-Sunday from November 16-December 31. There will also be two weekend Christmas Workshops at the fairgrounds, December 2-3 and 9-10 featuring food, hands-on crafts for children, and community booths. The downtown regions of Port Clinton, Vermilion, and Milan have fun holiday decorations as well, and you can also enjoy browsing the store windows for their unique and festive displays. Milan is particularly interesting because the entire town square is enveloped in classic Edison-style lightbulbs, an homage to the town’s most famous resident and inventor of Christmas lights, Thomas Edison.

Instead of throwing money away on gifts that will be unused and end up in your donation pile next winter, consider a holiday getaway where you can enjoy each other’s company, create life-long memories, and really relish in the joys of the season. Here are a few Shores & Islands Ohio holiday getaway ideas:

  • Firelands Adventure Tours – If you’ve only got one evening to get away, consider letting someone else do the driving and load the gang into Firelands Adventure Tours’ secure and relaxing bus, seating 18 passengers comfortably. Nightly Holiday Lights Tours depart from Sandusky’s Jackson Street Pier and includes holiday music onboard as well as complimentary hot chocolate and holiday goodies. The tour will take you throughout Sandusky’s sparkling light displays – the best the city has to offer.
  • Great Wolf Lodge – Families, especially those with young children, will delight in the wintertime activities offered as part of a stay at Great Wolf Lodge during their Snowland celebration. Complete with whimsical décor, daily snowfall showers, and festive activities, families can escape the chilly winter weather and soak up the holiday spirit. Seasonally-themed crafts and story times will be offered, as well as visits with Santa.
  • Season of Joy at Sawmill Creek Resort – Sawmill Creek by Cedar Point Resorts is going all-out again this holiday season with their festive Season of Joy which includes a number of fun activities both for the young and the young-at-heart crowd. Catch the spirit of the holidays with live music, comedy showcases, holiday decorating workshops, specialty food and drinks and more bringing together the sights, sounds, and tastes of the North Coast.

Wrap up your 2023 with a bow and welcome the New Year at the area’s most unique event, the Walleye Drop! Wylie Walleye, a 20 ft. long, 600 lb. fiberglass walleye is dropped from a crane to usher in the new year. The event, also known as Walleye Madness at Midnight, has been held annually since the late 90s. Annually, thousands fill downtown Port Clinton for the evening to enjoy the event that provides a boost to local restaurants, pubs, hotels, and retailers. Live music and DJ’s entertain, vendors and food trucks fill the area, and an amazing fireworks display concludes the midnight countdown. The event also includes a kids’ early countdown, known as the “Minnow Drop.”

So, gather your family and friends together this season and enjoy a couple of Shores & Islands Ohio ways to make Ho, Ho, Ho-liday memories, for sure!

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