WORTHINGTON — Will sleigh bells ring Dec. 7?
Maybe, if you’re listening— but snow or no, a day filled with holiday delights awaits all comers when the newly conceived Worthington Wonderland unfolds on the first Saturday of the month.
“This is a terrific way to involve kids, adults, families and anyone who is looking for a little local action during the height of the holiday shopping season,” said Ryan McGaughey, chairman of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
“Hopefully, people will take advantage of the fun and explore a variety of the options available as they make their way around town to Dec. 7.”
In all, 22 local businesses and organizations are sponsoring holiday-themed activities or treats. That includes several “make and take” craft opportunities (like a tree ornament at Crafty Corner on Oxford Street’s eastern end), holiday tattoos from 9 a.m. to noon at Henderson Financial and Insurance Services, and two free chocolate fountain bars (one at Profile by Sanford and the other at Jaycox Power Sports) for those whose sweet teeth demand satisfaction.
“There’s a lot of spirit and creativity built into this day,” McGaughey said.
“Worthington has a lot to offer for shoppers, citizens and consumers, and Worthington Wonderland will demonstrate that in a big way to everyone.”
Although Kay Williams Prunty, owner of Worthington’s The Dance Academy, was initially disappointed to learn the long-running Old-Fashioned Christmas celebration at Pioneer Village would not take place this year (note: The Nobles County Historical Society is participating in Worthington Wonderland with paper craft ornaments and card-making from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), she’s pleased her dance students still have the chance to share their skills with the public at the mid-year point.
“We’ve had dancers participate in the Old-Fashioned Christmas annually since 1996,” said Prunty.
“We loved supporting the historical society, and the kids loved it — the sleigh rides, the visits with Santa, the food — plus it was great to see them go through the various buildings and learn more about our local history.”
Instead, Prunty will have up to 200 dance students rotate through short performances between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Phileo’s on Dec. 7.
“There’s no admission fee, and people can stop in, purchase food or coffee and enjoy the performances,” said Prunty, mentioning that Phileo’s will offer a lunch special that day.
“Worthington Wonderland allows us to continue our tradition of dancing publicly during December, and we’ll have not only a bunch of Christmas dances but also the start of some routines our students are preparing for next spring’s dance concert.”
Nearby at the offices of The Globe, those who are feeling Instagram-ready are welcome to drop in from 9 to 11 a.m. for their celebrity moment.
“We’ll have a photo booth featuring a mock-up of The Globe’s front page,” said advertising manager Roberta Fultz.
“So if you’ve ever wanted to see your face on the paper’s cover, be sure to stop by.”
Costumes such as Santa beards, reindeer and characters (like Anna and Elsa from “Frozen”) are among the seasonal apparel guests can quickly don to enhance their brief photo shoot.
“We’ll share some of the photos in a future print edition of the paper, and we’ll post all of the photos online,” promised Fultz.
For those seeking a quiet place to kick back and relax with the kids after a few hours of shopping and activity, American Lutheran Church has two seasonal movies on the day’s roster.
“With our newly remodeled sanctuary, we have a fantastic sound system as well as comfy chairs to give it a real theater feel,” said Kristin Appel.
Appel, the church’s children/family ministry coordinator, worked with her colleague, youth director Stacy Bickett, to program the 30-minute “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at 10 a.m. and the approximately 90-minute “The Star” at 1 p.m. Complimentary popcorn and water will be available.
“Our biggest goal is to welcome people into our new space for fellowship and gathering,” said Appel.
And no wonderland would be complete without an appearance by Santa, so on Dec. 7 that jolly old elf with the inside scoop on children’s gift requests will be set up at Family Value (1015 Fourth Ave.) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“It’s kind of cliché to say this, but the first Saturday in December will truly offer something for everyone right here in Worthington,” McGaughey said.
For a detailed listing of times, activities and offers at 22 local businesses and organizations, contact the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce at 1121 Third Ave., Worthington, 372-2919, or visit the Worthington Wonderland page on Facebook.