Top 5 Small Town Holiday Festivals
By Anietra Hamper

The holidays are about traditions, family, and gatherings with friends. I enjoy the big holiday events, but there is a certain charm to the small community gatherings that are often championed by volunteers who spend the entire year planning. I like to hop in the car and enjoy some warm coco and holiday spirit in someone else’s hometown in Ohio. Here’s a look at 5 small town holiday festivals that you might want to enjoy this year.

Christmas Candlelightings in Roscoe Village – Coshocton, Ohio
December 5, 12 & 19 – 6pm

Christmas in Roscoe Village is an Ohio holiday tradition. The Christmas Candlelighting Ceremony is an evening to join your friends and neighbors as you sing “Silent Night” beneath the twinkling lights of the village Christmas tree. You can also take part in a candlelit “A Roscoe Christmas” guided tour to see what Christmas was like in the 1800s. If you visit during the day, there are horse-drawn carriage rides, visits with Santa, mulled cider and cookies (my favorite!), and carolers. The candlelighting events are free, but the “Roscoe Christmas” tour is $9.95 for adults and $4.95 for students. Check the website for tour times and reservations.


Christmas in the Village – Waynesville, Ohio
December 4 (6 – 9p.m.), 5 (Noon – 9p.m.), 6 (Noon – 5p.m.)

Waynesville’s Christmas in the Village is one of my favorite small town stops during the holidays. Maybe it is the 1,300 luminaries that line the streets or the way the snow falls on the ornate vintage lamps in front of the antique stores that border the walkways through the village. Christmas in the Village is an entire weekend filled with traditional holiday events like the Candlelight Walk that celebrates Ohio’s first Christmas in 1803. There are carriage rides available and restaurants that serve up hot cornbread and chili and other homemade meals. There is even a Dinner with Dickens on Wednesdays and Weekends throughout December (reservations required – (513) 897-3779). 

Williamsburg Christmas at Jefferson Depot Village – Jefferson, Ohio
December 5, 2015 (3 – 5 pm)

If you want to step back in time to an old-fashioned Williamsburg Christmas, you can enjoy caroling around an old piano, sleigh bell wagon rides and even potbelly stoves as you enjoy the festivities. Everywhere you turn you see ice sculptures, candles and hear holiday music. If you are feeling crafty, you can make a Victorian ornament and if you are just feeling nostalgic you can quietly enjoy the Live Nativity in the 1849 barn. Of course there are lots of cookies and warm drinks to balance the chill in the air. For information and directions, call 440-576-0496.

Dickens Victorian Village – Cambridge, Ohio
Open through January 2, 2016

One of the most special holiday stops in Ohio is Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge, Ohio where Christmas comes to life and the town has a festive holiday atmosphere for two months. Volunteers work year-round prepping more than 160 life-size mannequins that are used to create 92 holiday scenes from old world England. The Dickens-era scenes are assembled throughout the town for the entire holiday season. Throughout November and December there are other holiday events including trolley tours and craft shows.

Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Christmas Festival – Lebanon, Ohio
December 5, 2015 (10a.m. – 8 p.m.)

The highlights of the Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Festival are the parades (1p.m. and 7p.m.) that go through town. Throughout the festival you can enjoy visiting the 80 antique and specialty stores, horse demonstrations, storytelling visits with Santa, a traveling bell choir, lots of comfort food and even a train ride to the North Pole. This free festival is in the heart of Lebanon and transports you back to a more simple time. I promise you will leave filled with the holiday spirit.



About the Author

For Anietra Hamper, writing is a passion. Anietra spent nearly 20 years as a top-rated television news Anchor telling thousands of stories that impact people's lives. Now, away from the spotlight, Anietra is a published travel writer. In fall 2013, Anietra was honored to be selected as a member of the prestigious Society of American Travel Writers. Anietra's zest for exploration and photography has taken her to untouched regions of Vietnam and tribal territories of the Philippines, sharing those journeys along the way through articles and blogs. Anietra is also a correspondent for Child Fund International; one of the largest non-Government Organizations in the world. Anietra graduated Cum Laude from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio and studied journalism at American University in Washington D.C. She enjoys fishing, photography, fitness and playing with her rescued dog Sunny. You can follow Anietra online at