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‘Burb Breakdown: 5 Gahanna holiday events that need to be on your list

614now Staff




Covering many vibrant communities across central Ohio, the 614 is so much more than just Columbus. Welcome to the ‘Burb Breakdown, an ongoing series highlighting the unique character of neighborhoods from across this sprawling metro area we call home. This time, we take a look at everything happening in Gahanna for the holidays.

Frankincense, my dear, if you’ve been to one holiday tree lighting or Santa meet-and-greet, you’ve been to them all…right? Not if you haven’t experienced Gahanna’s Holiday Lights Celebration and seasonal festivities. Think camel rides, horse-drawn carriages and even a fireworks display! Visit Gahanna has spent 20 years raising the bar on its annual holiday bash, drawing both locals and visitors for some magical memory making that won’t break the bank.

Located just east of downtown Columbus, Gahanna hauls out the holly the week before Thanksgiving and doesn’t stop celebrating until the New Year. Mark your calendars, then grab your elves, mittens, and camera to head out to these festivities:

1) Holiday Lights Celebration | 3-6:30 pm Sunday, November 24 | Creekside Gahanna/117 Mill St.

Gahanna’s scenic Creekside District gets merry and bright, serving as North Pole Central with more than 100 free family-friendly activities on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Snap a selfie at the reindeer petting zoo, visit a live nativity or play with a giant Light Bright. Then break for some live music, hands-on crafts, and hot chocolate. Food trucks, a life-size Christmas Village, and Santa arriving by a fire truck? Count us in. The finale is a colorful explosion of holiday fireworks over the district. (Did we mention it’s all free?) Presented by Visit Gahanna, check out for more info.

2) Holiday Character Breakfast | 8 am- 12noon Saturday, December 7 | New Life Church, 3690 Stygler Rd

You know you’ve won with your tribe when you see your littles hugging a giant gingerbread man or snowman. Add to the mix a pancake breakfast, make-and-take crafts, face painting, a holiday theatrical performance, and a few minutes with the man in red—and you’ll score big in the “Quality Family Time During the Holidays” category. Visit Gahanna’s Holiday Character Breakfast is a tradition for many Central Ohio families. The three seatings (8:15 am, 9:30 am & 10:45 am) fill up quickly. Reserve your tickets online in advance:

3) Santa Race 5K & Little Reindeer Dash | 9 am Saturday, December 14 | 117 Mill St. Gahanna

There’s nothing quite like a brisk 5K run on a December Saturday, running beside other crazies dressed in Santa hats, T-shirts, and other holiday costumes (beards optional). Or joining Santa for a move-and-groove warm-up jam at Creekside Plaza. Or watching a group of preschoolers run like well, preschoolers…in a “Little Reindeer Dash.” Get the picture? Visit Gahanna’s annual Santa Race 5K & Little Reindeer Dash (presented by Mount Carmel Health) is nothing less than a hilarious, seasonal fitness event wrapped up in fun photo opportunities. Run it or walk it, but don’t miss it. Visit for all the details.

4) Ohio Herb Center Visits with Santa | 9 am-1 pm Saturdays, December 7 & 14 | Ohio Herb Center, 110 Mill St.

When you host a couple of visits from the REAL Santa during December, they will come. The Jolly Old Elf manages to break away from his North Pole agenda for just two Saturday mornings to visit with wee ones at the Ohio Herb Center. While they are waiting to put in their last minute requests and get a photo, kids (and parents) can work on make-it-and-take-it gifts at the DIY Hot Chocolate Bar or shop for treasures in the gift shop. $5 per craft/Santa photo.

5) Botanical Beauty Bar: DIY Holiday Gifts | 7 pm Thursday, December 5 | Ohio Herb Center, 110 Mill St.

Struggling for gift ideas for the female in your life? Join a herbalist from the Ohio Herb Center for a hands-on lesson in healthier skin care. Discover how crafting your own DIY body scrubs can save time, money, and give you the skills to customize products to match your skin type. Learn the secrets to creating a light and fluffy concoction that will nourish your skin all winter long. You’ll leave with the inspiration to create your own gifts for the holidays!

Need more info on these events ? Go to or call 614/418-9114.

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