The Village of Ashley will celebrate its seventh annual “Christmas in Ashley” with hundreds of luminaries, a scavenger hunt and a live nativity.
The now annual event began a decade ago with a nativity and the idea of bringing the community together during the holidays.
“My husband and I thought it would be fun to create a live nativity scene in the village with live animals,” said Amy Ruggles, chairperson of the committee. “There are so many nice people living around Ashley, yet folks don’t gather and interact as in the past.”
Ruggles said she and her husband have farmed in the area for 42 years, yet they didn’t really know very many people from the community.
“Since the start of Christmas in Ashley we have become acquainted with so many friendly people,” Ruggles said.
Festivities are to be between the hours of 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 in the village.
Ruggles said a local Boy Scout Troop will display hundreds of luminaries around the village and children will dress in costume at the live nativity across from the Methodist Church on High Street. She said the scavenger hunt will start at the Elm Valley Joint Fire District station at 9821 U.S. 42 and end at Ashley’s Wesleyan Church on High Street.
Elaine McFarland, village council, said, in the past many of the historical homes were decorated and open to the public during the event. “I couldn’t get anybody to do it this year,” McFarland said.
“It’s kind of hard getting people to open their homes now days,” said McFarland. “People would ask, ‘Would you want all these people coming through your house?’ I tell them I did it twice and never even thought about it,” she said. “I had 300 people going through my house the years I did it. That’s a lot of people for Ashley.”
Other activities will include a fish fry at the American Legion, an outdoor light and decorating contest where cash prizes will be awarded to the top three winners, carolers will stroll the streets singing carols, Christmas music can be heard and enjoyed from a 100-year-old pipe organ at the Methodist Church, a town crier roaming the streets ringing a bell guiding scavenger hunters and the Ashley Wornstaff Library will have a toy donation box for the donation of toys.
Maps of the participating churches, businesses and residences will be available at many of the venues, and signs will be posted in front of them.
Ruggles said, Scott Shoemaker will again make an appearance as the town crier this year. “He probably will forever,” she said. “He is the only one that fits the costume.”
Santa and Misses Claus will be played by Charles Miley and Donna Mitchell.
Ruggles said,people and businesses from the area have donated cash and prizes for the scavenger hunt and the decorating contest.
“We’re prize-heavy,” Ruggles said. “There are lots of generous people here.”
All activities are free to the public.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.