MARTINS FERRY - Martins Ferry's inaugural Christmas in the Park, which will be held on Nov. 29- 30, is off to a great start. One of the biggest accomplishments was securing a synthetic ice skating rink.
Spearheading this project is police Sgt. Beth Scales. Scales has worked tirelessly to secure not only the rink, but also performances from local dance studios, artists and Santa himself. She is currently in the process of getting a kid-sized horse and carriage ride.
On the day of the event, there will be pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Professional photographer Terry Louise will be taking photos for $5 and packages can also be ordered.
A tree decorating contest is also planned. Participants can register to decorate a live tree for $40. The trees will be available to decorate a week prior to the event and the judging will take place Saturday, Nov. 30 at 4 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to first, second and third places.
"Things are progressing fantastically," said Scales. "Anybody that wants to continue to donate, that would be great. The more donations that we receive, the more lights we can put up and the more things we can do."
Along with the Shop Small Saturday that the Martins Ferry Chamber of Commerce is hosting in conjunction with the Christmas is the Park, about 20 craft and food vendors will be set up as well.
"It is going to be a really big to do, and there are going to be a lot of things for people to do," said Scales. "I am still in need of artificial trees, if people want to make a donation. These trees are just for decorating purposes." Scales asked that if anybody has an artificial tree they no longer use and would like to donate, please let her know. These trees are not part of the tree decorating contest.
Martins Ferry High School and the Daily Bread will be taking canned food donations for the needy if anyone would like to make a donation.
The ice rink set up will include all the skates and benches, allowing 35 people to skate at one time. Kathy Howell will sing Christmas music on Saturday. Scales is still trying to line up additional performers.
Festivities will begin Friday at noon and the lighting of the park will take place at 5 p.m. The Christmas parade will start at 6:30. On Saturday, the festivities will go from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.