The holiday season has officially begun, and there's absolutely nothing quite like a small town Christmas. Morgan County is home to some fantastic holiday events, and below you'll find our list of the very best small town Christmas experiences in the area. Oh, and don't forget to get the low-down on where to find Santa in Morgan County and fun craft show events throughout the holiday season, on our blog. Be sure to get these fun, small-town holiday traditions on your family's seasonal calendar!
Handmade Candy Canes
First off, it's simply not the holiday season until you've seen them make candy canes at the Martinsville Candy Kitchen! Luckily, you've got plenty of chances for this iconic Martinsville experience. They'll be making candy canes, by hand of course, on every Saturday in November and December, until Christmas. Approximate Saturday pour times are around 10 am, Noon and 3 pm, but times are subject to change so call or check their Facebook page for specifics if you have limited time. Keep an eye out for additional pour times as well, sometimes you can catch a mid-week or Friday evening pour time! It's fun to watch, but the smells are what really turn the experience into an unforgettable family memory. We guarantee, your kids will be reminded of this experience every time they smell peppermint, probably for the rest of their lives. This season marks the 100th candy cane season for this Martinsville icon, so if you've never been this is the perfect year to put it on your holiday to-do list!
(Santa visits the Candy Kitchen on Nov. 30 and Dec. 21 this year.)
Twinkling Holiday Lights
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, another Martinsville tradition takes place - the Festival of Lights event at Jimmy Nash City Park! Santa will be on hand to turn the lights on and families gather for photos, crafts, carols and the annual reading of the holiday classic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Right in step with the gift giving nature of the holiday season, this is the event that keeps on giving - because if you can't be there on the night of the lighting, you can still come enjoy the lights! They'll remain lit from dusk until the park closes, every night until after New Year's Day. Drive through any evening you happen to be in town!
The Santa Train
Enjoy an evening with some of your favorite characters on the Indiana Rail Road's annual Santa Train! Morgan County's stop on the Santa Train route is the small town of Morgantown. The train will stop just behind the Morgantown Fire Department on Friday, December 6, at approximately 6:30 pm. There will be refreshments available while you wait for your turn to step aboard the trail and greet Santa and his friends. The Morgan County Coalition for Literacy is also providing free books for kids who visit the Santa Train at the Morgantown stop. The line to see Santa will close at 7:30 pm, so don't be late!
James and the Giant Peach
Martinsville's community theatre company, the Merry MAC Players, will present James and the Giant Peach, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December 6-15. While not exactly a Christmas production, this whimsical tale told by a talented cast of 21 young people, grades 2-12, will delight audiences of all ages. Plus, it gives you the perfect excuse to enjoy lunch or dinner in downtown Martinsville and maybe even indulge in some holiday shopping. You'll laugh out loud as you encounter James, an enormous enchanted peach and a collection of giant, talking insects as they sail across the ocean in search of New York City. Tickets are available online and evening performances are at 7 pm on December 6-7 and 13-14. Matinee performances will be at 2:30 pm on December 7, 8 and 15.
Victorian Christmas Celebration
Each year, on the first Saturday in December, Mooresville, Indiana goes back in time to the Victorian era. (Don't ask us how... it just happens!) Don't worry - you needn't be in Victorian garb to enjoy this fun-filled holiday event. The Victorian Christmas Celebration involves performances, artisan booths, craft shows, demonstrations, activities, characters in costume and even a Wild West shootout. Come prepared - you may very well encounter Father Christmas... or Ebeneezer Scrooge! There are carriage rides available and a free trolley service ensures that you get to each and every stop so you don't miss a thing. This year's event is on Saturday, December 7.
On Saturday, December 7, head over to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Martinsville for their annual Bethlehem Walk event. This event features an expanded live nativity experience that will take you back to the first Christmas night. The evening begins with a brief introduction in the church sanctuary before guests proceed outside to walk through the gates of Bethlehem, encounter Roman guards, hear the words of prophets and wise men, shop merchants' tents, encounter a variety of live animals and visit the inn and stable. Cookies and hot chocolate are served in the fellowship hall after the event. The event is free, but tickets are issued in 20-minute time increments, so reserve yours early.
North Pole Experience
This year, a new holiday event will take place in Mooresville at 5 East, an event venue on Main Street. The North Pole Experience will take place on Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14 in two hour increments. Participants will experience the magic of the North Pole as they build a toy with the elves in the workshop, decorate a scrumptious sugar cookie in the baker, enjoy a story from Mrs. Claus and get one-on-one time with Santa himself! Each child will go home with their new toy, cookie and complimentary digital photos. Tickets are on sale now at halimaeevents.com and are limited for each time slot.
Martinsville Cookie Stroll
The second Saturday in December is cookie time! The Martinsville Cookie Stroll takes place each year, featuring hundreds of volunteer cookie bakers, dozens of cookie stops, lots of fun live performances, Holiday Market from the Morgan County Farmers Market and even llamas (yes, llamas!). Cookie Passports must be purchased in advance. They go on sale in person on Nov. 23 and 30. A couple of things to know: cookie passports always sell out, so get yours early; not everyone in your party needs a passport (unless you want to go home with A LOT of cookies); and you only need a passport if you want to collect cookies at each stop - everything else is free (including petting the llamas)!
Note: Passport sales will take place on Nov. 23 and Nov. 30, beginning at 10 am at The Sterling Butterfly and the Martinsville Arts Council, both on Morgan Street.
Santa in Waverly Park
Waverly Park will once again host Santa in the Park, featuring a chance to interact with the jolly old elf himself inside the historic bank building, holiday stories and songs along with cookies and hot chocolate inside the church building at the park and fun demonstrations from the past in the demonstration area. This year's event will take place on Saturday, December 14. A blacksmith will be on hand to show his skill at the forge and other traditional arts will be demonstrated as well. Additional activities will be available throughout the park at this free event. All ages are welcome.