Making Holiday Memories
Fuel up your car and fill it with your kids, grandkids, neighbors, relatives or friends and take a trip to eastern Ohio to make holiday memories and maybe start a new tradition.
From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Fort Steuben Park, on the banks of the Ohio River, is transformed into a unique and magical place: the Steubenville Nutcracker Village and Advent Market. Located in the historic downtown, under a canopy of colored lights and seasonal music, over 150 life-sized Nutcrackers bring delight to young and old.
These cleverly designed and locally produced creations depict professions, literary characters, and famous figures from history and entertainment. Among those you can meet (and take a photo with) are Dorothy of Oz, Sherlock Holmes, Mother Teresa, John Glenn, a Buccaneer, a dentist, and of course Clara and the Mouse King himself.
The Nutcrackers are on display 24/7 in the Park. For this fifth year of the event, some of the Nutcrackers will be venturing further into the downtown and making appearances by the nearby Jefferson County Courthouse and by the distinctive shops and in storefronts on Fourth Street.
On weekends, an Advent Market surrounding the 32’ Christmas tree is open from 3 pm to 8 pm where visitors can purchase a variety of crafts, gifts and food including fresh baked pies, wood puzzles, handmade signs, Christmas décor and Nutcracker souvenirs.
Holiday music streams through the walkways as well as the joyful sounds of live entertainment with local choirs and performers. Trolley rides provide views of the historic churches and the larger than life artwork of the City of Murals. In the evenings, hayrides are drawn through the city streets.
Also, in the park and decorated as for a 19th century Christmas, the First Federal Land Office welcomes visitors to learn the history of the early settlement of Ohio. The log structure is set beside a 22’ Christmas tree and evokes a quieter and simpler time.
Additional attractions can be found inside the Fort Steuben Visitor Center which is open from 10-6 from Monday-Thursday and from 10-8 on Friday-Sunday. While there, youngsters can write letters to Santa and then visit the Christmas Wonderland. This exhibit includes a variety of displays of holiday memorabilia, a model railroad, and a Nutcracker Tree as well as the new Gingerbread Village. St. Nicholas can often be found strolling among the aisles and giving out treats.
The gift shop offers books, holiday gifts, puzzles, crafts, ornaments and souvenirs as well as the collectible 2019 Steubenville Nutcracker. Sebastian – the singing autistic Nutcracker – stands by the doorway inviting visitors to drop a dollar in his drum to hear a song from Steubenville’s own Dean Martin.
After taking photos, singing along with the carolers and sipping hot chocolate, you might want to extend your trip to one of the other holiday attractions in the region such as Oglebay’s Festival of Lights in Wheeling, West Virginia or Dicken’s Victorian Village in Cambridge, Ohio. And when you return home be sure to download all your photos, get them printed and put them into an album to ensure that those memories will be preserved and shared for years to come.
Photos courtesy of Historic Fort Steuben.
Nutcracker Village Steubenville Ohio