The Christmas season is here and Marion County communities are offering a variety of festive opportunities for everyone.
The following is a list of December events in area towns.
This weekend features ?A Down Home Christmas in Hillsboro? from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.
Starting at 10 a.m. and staying until 2 p.m. Santa Claus will be at Kessler Kreations and Jan?s Floral on Main Street.
Other activities planned for the day include a bake sale, children?s events, games and face painting.
The senior center will provide a soup lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with singing entertainment. Plus carriage rides are available from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to tour the decorative lights of Hillsboro.
Some gift-giving ideas might be found at home-based businesses on display in downtown shops, or businesses on and around Main Street.
Those businesses include Dale?s Supermarket, Odds ?N Ends, Quick Flick/Radio Shack, Nancy?s Fashions, Supreme Floor, The Cut Above, Hillsboro True Value, Jan?s Floral and Kessler?s Kreations.
Home-based businesses are Pampered Chef, Tupperware, On the Go Travel Products, Scentsy 31 Bags, Treena?s Knits and Gifts.
December Community Event officials are also having a silent auction starting Saturday through Dec. 15 for baskets donated by local businesses.
Proceeds from the basket auction will go to local charities.
Christmas is coming to Marion?s downtown area and children and adults will find lots to do, organizers said.
Groups in Marion are planning events to celebrate the Christmas season, including a home tour, parade, the annual light tour at Marion County Park and Lake and more.
Jan Davis, owner of Gallery 101, said Sunday, Dec. 2, will be a day for children of all ages.
?Live music, puppet shows, the clip-clop of horses and mules, a parade, steaming hot chocolate, homemade soups, bierocks and barbecue are all part of the Christmas celebration,? she said.
Sunday?s activities, Jeanice Thomas, another organizer, said is the community?s gift to everyone.
The theme for the day is ?Christmas Past is Christmas Present in Marion,? and activities begin at 12:30 p.m. with the parade starting at 3 p.m. on Main Street.
Something new this year, Thomas said, is events at the Marion Community Center.
?The CANstruction project,? she said, ?is a unique, fun project to promote a very good cause.?
The project will benefit the Marion Food Bank, she said, and visitors will be amazed at what volunteers have done with cracker boxes and cans of soup.
Another feature at the community center will be the forest of trees.
?A beautifully restored antique sleigh and gorgeous blown glass and craft ideas will be inside,? Thomas added.
Janessa Wood, a native of Macksville, is the featured artist at Gallery 101, Davis said.
?As the featured artist,? she said, ?it is appropriate that her favorite subject is large scale horses for her painting images.?
According to Davis, Wood?s work ranges from realistic to whimsical and explores photography, printmaking and ceramics.
The holiday event ends at dusk with a drive around Marion County Lake to view dozens of homes lit for the holidays.
Christmas lights can be seen reflecting in the lake water, Thomas said.
Carla Hajek, one of the organizers for this year?s Tampa Christmas Celebration, said the festivities there begin at 3 p.m. Dec. 2 with downtown businesses open for tours.
Those businesses include The Tampa Fitness Center, Tampa Trail Stop, Tampa Board Room, Tampa State Bank , Jim’s Salon and St. John’s Lutheran Church.
?We are also having Tri-County Telephone give-aways and refreshments at the senior center,? she said.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be arriving in Tampa at 5:30 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Hajek said, a soup supper is planned at the senior center hall.
The Cottonwood River Band will perform at 7 p.m.
?We are pretty excited about having them,? she said. ?They sing bluegrass, country and Gospel.?
The band, she said, has ties to the Durham and Cottonwood River area, and members of include Delayne Herbel, Richard Dirks, Tim Diener and Vince and Julie Jantz.
Tampa?s annual event has been going on for at least two decades, Hajek said.
?We have had Santa coming to Tampa for as long as I can remember, but just within the last 10 years, we have had a parade, tour of homes, soup supper and concert?something to go with Santa’s visit.?
Tampa PRIDE is sponsoring the event.
Carol Callahan with the city of Burns said Santa will be at the community center the evening of Dec. 14.
More details will follow regarding time and other activities.
Florence, Goessel, Peabody
Janet Robinson of Florence said Santa will be visiting at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 8 in the ambulance building.
?We are also having a tree lighting on Main Street and plan to sing Christmas carols and have cookies available,? she said.
In Goessel, Anita Goertzen said children can have their picture taken with Santa and his elf from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 9 in the Civic Community room, 101 S. Cedar.
?Each child will receive a sack of goodies, an ornament to make and take home and a picture of Santa and/or his elf,? she said.
Refreshments will be available for everyone.
The Goessel Ministerial Alliance is hosting a community Christmas Vesper Service at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, to at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church.
The service will include a variety of special music numbers by groups from the various churches and a time of Christmas carol singing for everyone, an official spokesperson said.
Following the music, everyone is invited for refreshments and fellowship in the fellowship hall.
For those who are able, bring Christmas goodies to share, along with a friend or neighbor to help ring in the Christmas season, an organizer said.
Peabody?s annual Light Tour is slated for the evening of Dec. 12.
Ruth Lott, manager of the senior center, said a bus will be available to take people around to view the lights with refreshments served following the tour.
Christmas in Canton?Arts, Craft & Gifts Fair is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Canton American Legion, 132 N. Main.
The event will feature handmade items, including soaps, woodworking crafts, canned goods, baked goods, jewelry, knitted products, and other great craft items, said Cheryl Boesker, one of the organizers.
The Legion Auxiliary from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Dec. 1 is also serving homemade biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs, hot cocoa and coffee by donation.
Santa Claus will continue the festivities by visiting from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., also at the Legion.
Other events include an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Beauty Within Salon, complete with holiday specials and refreshments; the Stars & Stripes Military Museum will open from 10 a.m. to noon; a Christmas Holiday Sale is planned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Three Sisters Victorian Tea Room and a soup supper will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Canton Senior Center.
Also, for those with reservations, Mrs. Clause will serve cookies and cocoa at 10 a.m. in the Victorian Tea Room.