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‘Christmas Walk Through the Park’ happening Saturday

STEUBENVILLE — Family-friendly activities are in store for those interested to experience “A Christmas Walk Through the Park” on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at Beatty Park, 621 Lincoln Ave.

The Friends of Beatty Park Revitalization Group has organized the event that is open to the public and free with a few exceptions.

The event offers a day full of events, activities, food, entertainment and “just plain old-fashioned family fun,” noted Flora VerStraten-Merrin, group founder.

Through the entire afternoon, VerStraten-Merrin explained that there will be a live nativity representative of the first Christmas; Christmas community choirs; food trucks offering items for purchase; photos with Santa; and children’s crafts and face stickers.

Volunteers will be on hand to assist with parking, which is limited. “When the parking areas inside of the park get full, parking will be available along Lincoln Avenue, the Faith Baptist and Finley United Methodist churches, both within close walking distance to the park,” she said.

“This event is not going to be fast paced. We are planning on taking people back in time, so if you’re in a hurry or wait until 4 p.m. or later to arrive, you’ll miss out on most of the activities up in the park,” she explained. “All of the events and activities throughout the day are planned with the thought to offer those attending a feeling of relaxation and time to enjoy the beauty that Beatty has to offer,” she continued. “Even the crafts, activities, and storytelling will be geared from times gone by. We want everyone to get away from the hustle and bustle of present-day Christmas and reach back to a slower time that was humble and simple,” added VerStraten-Merrin.

Activities planned all afternoon.

– A live nativity (with real animals) and 10-minute storytelling representing the first Christmas, on the hour throughout the afternoon

– Live Christmas music with the Sycamore Youth Choir at noon, followed by vocalist Darlene Van Dyke-Sofronski at 1:30 p.m. and the Friends community choir finishing by 5 p.m.

– The Beatty Park float will be parked near the entrance following the Christmas parade.

– Food trucks offering barbecue, warm drinks and more will be at the basketball court area.

– Mr. Santa and Mrs. Claus and helpers will be on hand for pictures with children and/or pets for a $5 fee, with doggie treats and kids treats and the opportunity to write a letter to Santa, first shelter house.

– Children’s crafts and holiday face stickers: Santa’s helpers will be available with up to four crafts to complete for children 12 and younger at the second shelter house.

≤ Walk/Hike: “The Old Stone Lodge will be decked out in all of her Victorian glory,” VerStraten-Merrin said. “We will offer heat and seating along with free Christmas cookies and warm drinks — your reward for making it all the way up through the park to the historic stone lodge and neatest location in the park.” There will be storytelling by archeologist John Boileigh and local historians, including Paul Zuros and VerStraten-Merrin. “The stories will begin on the half hour, and the guests will be available to chat and answer any questions, too,” she said.

Donations will be accepted and appreciated, she said, and used for future projects with the “Friends of Beatty Park” Facebook page a resource for the promotion of scheduled hikes, lectures, events and various other activities slated for 2022.

There will be various drawings with donations required to qualify. These include a painting of Beatty Park done by local artist Judy Schmidt, president of the Steubenville Art Association; a hand-forged dinner bell (triangle) by local blacksmith Don Wagner; and a walking stick hand whittled by local artisan Dom Duco.

McKinley Grade School will be there in the afternoon after the parade with poinsettias for a fee.

“Almost everything that we have going on is for families,” VerStraten-Merrin noted, but added seniors interested in history will enjoy the historical storytelling that will be part of the day. VerStraten-Merrin, for example, will be dressed as her great-great-grandmother, Harriet Atkinson Bennett, who lived with her husband and family near the park.

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