by LCVB staff member Dan Maxson

Communities offer holiday events and share a small dose of local history too!

From an inaugural tree lighting ceremony in Concord Township that drew over 150 attendees to the 30,000 bulbs twinkling in shapes of Santa, snowmen, elves and more in downtown Willoughby, December is a month to get out and celebrate all that is good about the season and walk in the past history that is our county. Here is a brief list of holiday events that merit your consideration. The list is incomplete but serves a a good starting point to visit history first-hand and glean some holiday magic too.

Concord Township’s tree lighting ceremony offered visitors a chance to walk thru the 1870 town hall, see benches from Chair Factory Falls and meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Another township event coming up allows young children to gather at the 1840 Old Stone School and write letters to Santa with Mrs. Claus.

Fairport Harbor holds Harbor Holidays the first Saturday of December and since 2003 the visit by the Grinch at the iconic lighthouse at dusk gathers hundreds. The 1825 lighthouse keeper dwelling and tower are lit nightly and a drive by or walk on the property offers spectacular photo opportunities. Lake Erie at night is not to be missed either. Volunteers run the lighthouse and often allow impromptu tours.

Mentor’s Wildwood Cultural Site offers many December events for the public. This former Oliver home circa 1900-1908 was commissioned to A. Garfield and is a hidden gem and worth visiting. A Winter Evening at Lawnfield combines a holiday themed program with a chance to see the former President’s home at Christmas. Rumor has it that Lucretia may stop by and share some memories.

Downtown Willoughby offers Ugly Sweater events, Ale tasting, a 5K and more throughout December. Just show up any weekend evening and visit the triangle or stroll downtown as you enjoy a modern day version of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.” Stop by the Welcome Center for a great taste of Willoughby history.

Kirtland’s Nativity Display is not to be missed. This free event at the Mormon Community site at the base of the hill on Route 306 features over 500 displays. A truly international event that draws visitors from across the U.S. Stop by daily till 5pm and be touched by the beauty of the season.

Other local communities that offer great family events and local history include Wickliffe, Willowick, Chardon and Leroy. Check local community websites as event times may change or registration policies may be in effect.

About Dan Maxson

Dan is the President of the Fairport Harbor Historical Society. He is also the local expert on Lake County lore and history.