BARLOW - The seventh annual Barlow Area Christmas in the Village will begin on Dec. 1 with a variety of activities.
"This year is bigger and better than last," said organizer Susie Ashley. "Every year is bigger than the previous; when we started, my goal was to get the community involved and they continue to get more and more involved every year."
This year's festival will begin at 9 a.m. Dec. 1 with progressive shopping that includes 25 stops and more than 50 vendors of home-based businesses and crafters from throughout the area.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., crafters will be on hand at Barlow area churches, Barlow-Vincent Elementary School and the Barlow branch of the Washington County Public Library. Additionally, various retailers, such as White Oak Pharmacy and the Par Mar gas station, will offer Christmas specials and various items will be sold out of several homes.
"Nearly every merchant and crafter in the area has chosen to participate this year and I couldn't be happier," Ashley said. "With the way the economy has been this past year, my goal is to help each and every retail and crafting business with the Christmas in the Village."
This year's Village Christmas Parade will line up at 4 p.m. Dec. 1 at Barlow-Vincent Elementary School.
"The Warren High School Marching Warriors will lead the parade this year at 5 p.m.," Ashley said. "They lead the parade every year and do a wonderful job."
The parade will go up Warrior Drive, turn left onto Ohio 550 and end at the Barlow Fairgrounds.
Those who would like to participate in the parade, which is sponsored by the Scenic Hills Lions Club, do not need to pre-register or pay a fee, just show up. Because the parade will take place in the evening, all floats must be illuminated and walkers must carry flashlights.
The parade will end with the lighting of three community Christmas trees and lights festival in the fairgrounds.
Following the parade, the Festival of Lights drive thru at the Barlow Fairgrounds will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. every day through the month of December.
The Anderson donation house in the fairgrounds will be manned by community volunteers and guests will be greeted with a smile and a treat.
"This brings the community together for the holiday celebrations and this has been a dream of mine for so long," Ashley said. "I'm so pleased it keeps growing and growing."
For the first time, Christmas in the Village has teamed with the Barlow Fair Board to hold a "Christmas Fair" in the fairgrounds from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2.
The fair will include free exhibits and demonstrations with 30 vendors in the dining hall and Lads and Lassies building and Civil War re-enactors, ornament workshops, displays and a variety of other activities throughout the fairgrounds.
The Barlow Area Christmas in the Village is a not-for-profit organization formed in 2006 to gain community awareness, community involvement and promote economic development. Participating areas include Barlow, Vincent, Veto, Bartlett and Little Hocking.