ZOAR -- Early American and German holiday traditions will be featured at the annual Christmas in Zoar, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 2, from noon to 5 p.m.
Featured activities both days include: tours of decorated, private historic homes; horse-drawn wagon rides from 1-4 p.m.; visits from the German Belsnickel and Kristkind and Santa's Workshop in the Garden House, which is an extra charge of $3 per child.
Unique gifts and décor will be available for purchase from nearly 40 juried folk and craft artisans throughout the village. Museum buildings will feature costumed volunteers demonstrating the old ways of preparing for the holidays. The Zoar Bakery will serve visitors free cookies and cider.
Student, amateur and professional musicians will provide entertainment both days. Saturday performances will be given by choirs from North Canton Hoover, New Philadelphia and Malvern High Schools; Trinity Ringers Bell Choir of Trinity United Church, the Trumpet Singers and local classical guitarist Denny Vlahos. On Sunday, entertainment will be choirs from Northwest and Tusky Valley High Schools; Mixed Up Strings dulcimer group; Black Rivers Boys and Denny Vlahos.
The Zoar Store will feature 2012 "Horn of Zoar" ornaments and limited-edition Christmas cards depicting a 19th-century Zoar Hotel winter scene, painted by local artist Don Weisgarber. Many of his original watercolors also will be on display in the gallery on the second floor of the Zoar Store.
A few activities will be on Saturday only. On that day, Mark Dawidziak, historical interpreter, will present "A Christmas Carol," in the character of Charles Dickens. This will be at 1 p.m. in the Meeting House, which is now home to the United Church of Christ. Other Saturday events include a live manger scene from 2-4 p.m. at the Meeting House, with manger animals in the Historic Zoar Garden from 1-4 p.m.; organ music and candlelight service at 5:15 p.m. in the Meeting House, a procession to the garden for a 6 p.m. village tree lighting ceremony; and a free concert at 7 p.m. by the Alliance String Quartet.
Christmas in Zoar admission is $7 for adults; children under 12 are free. For more information, call 1-800-262-6195, or visit www.historiczoarvillage.com.
Historic Zoar Village (www.historiczoarvillage.com) was founded by German Separatists in 1817 and thrived as a communal settlement for more than 80 years. Today, the village is home to approximately 75 families living in houses built from 1817 to present. Zoar's historical district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and was recently named one of America's Top 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Dozens of village structures have been painstakingly preserved through the collaborative efforts of the Zoar Community Association and the Ohio Historical Society.