What with the frequent traffic tie-ups and the hassle of one-way streets, sometimes we can overlook how truly charming Medina’s town square can be.
And it never looks better than at Christmas time, when the shops have decorated their windows and decorative flags are flying from the lamp posts that line the sidewalks. The Christmas tree in the gazebo appropriately takes center stage, and the bright lights take on a special glow in the evenings. The tree will be officially lighted at 7 p.m. Friday, and more than 1,400 luminaries will line the sidewalks all weekend.
The festive season kicks off this weekend with the Candlelight Walk, which celebrates its silver anniversary this year. The 6 p.m. Parade of Lights on Saturday includes all kinds of floats and walking units, all of which are required to include lights, so they carry a special excitement as they march around the square. Of course, at the end of the parade is Santa Claus in his sleigh, and even adults will wave and cheer his arrival to Medina.
It is a magical time of year for Medina. The shops have special events planned, many with cookies or hot cocoa awaiting visitors. Don’t forget to take Lolly the Trolly for a free ride around to those shops just off the square, including A.I. Root Co., where this weekend you can also buy the jams and jellies, jewelry, pastries and more that were featured at the Farmers’ Market during the summer. The Holiday Farmers’ Market runs noon to 8 p.m. Saturday.
One year we stopped in to make ceramic Christmas ornaments at All Fired Up! – something our children are begging to do again. Their scribbles take on a particular beauty when they are fired in a kiln. We still pull out those ornaments each year and remember how we escaped the chill of the night air for about an hour while we painted them.
If you don’t want to venture past window-shopping while your little ones are with you (I live in fear of broken glass objects), plan to explore the live nativity scene on the square, from 4 to 7 p.m., put on by Medina Presbyterian Church. The children will enjoy seeing sheep, a donkey, sometimes a dog, and the children and adults in costume as they re-enact the first Christmas in Bethlehem. Some years it’s been pretty darn cold, and I marvel at the dedication of the actors.
For an event truly geared for children, be sure to check out First Merit Bank on the square on Sunday for “Santa’s Workshop.” We have enjoyed this nearly every year with our children — most years, the workshop has included games and prizes, a visit by Sparkles the clown (who does awesome whole-face paintings that include a good dousing of glitter in the hair at the end), and even a caricature artist who gives you a big scroll to take home. I have three of those caricatures framed — a fourth is still rolled up because Walmart stopped carrying the frame to match! — and I am hoping to get our fifth child drawn. Worth every minute spent waiting in line! Once, that long line meant going straight to Sunday evening Mass at St. Francis Xavier with our young children’s faces fancifully painted as butterflies or with elaborate dragons snaking up an arm. They are truly works of art… I think God understood!
You can wait in line to take photos with Santa at his little house temporarily located on the square, but frankly, although he’s a great Santa, I’d skip the long line and pay our visit elsewhere. It is long, it is cold… but the weather this weekend promises to not be so frigid as other years, so maybe it won’t be so bad. You can take your own pictures, or buy one of theirs. Hours are 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday and 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
All in all, it’s a wonderful reminder of why we enjoy living in Medina. You really do feel like you’ve stepped into some sort of Christmas story book. All we need is a little snow to fall to perfect the scene.
Gasp! Did I really wish for snow?