Day by Day the Magic comes to Life

If you have been downtown Steubenville on South 3rd Street in the past week or so, you have most likely noticed all the festive decorations appearing in Fort Steuben Park and on the Fort.

Preparations are underway for this year’s Nutcracker Village/Advent Market, Christmas Wonderland and Gift Shop.

There are so many additional events, displays and decorations that it would be impossible to mention them all here.  (And besides, it would spoil the surprise!)

As the big day for the arrival of this year’s 105 Nutcrackers approaches (just 14 days from now) everyone is scurrying about getting everything prepared and festive to greet them.

The lights are on the arches, some of the huge wreaths have been hung, and the decorations at the entrance of the Visitor’s Center are in place.   Construction of the new and very large impressive Christmas tree at the fountain has begun, as has the building of the Chalets which will house vendors of homemade crafts and decorations, delicious food and treats.

Work inside of the Visitor Center has also begun on the massive Christmas Wonderland displays (with much more to do) and the Gift Shop is close to being fully stocked with exciting and wonderful gifts and souvenirs sure to delight shoppers of every age.

Each day more is added in anticipation of opening night which is ‘Steubenville Lights Up the Night’ on November 22nd, with performances by Steubenville and Catholic Central High Bands, The Casey Dancers and more, as well as free goodies. The Advent Market also opens that night and then is open each Friday, Saturday & Sunday from Thanksgiving through the weekend before Christmas, with live entertainment, hay rides, trolley tours and a few other surprises!

The Nutcracker Village, Christmas Wonderland and Gift Shop runs from November 22 through January 8, 2017.

The Visitor Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10am – 4pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm and additionally the days and hours of the Advent Market.  (Closed December 24th  & 25th  and December 31st & January 1st).

The Schedule for the Advent Market is:


November 22 —– 4-9pm

November 25 & 26—–4-9pm

November 27—–1-6pm

December 2 & 3——4-9pm

December 4——1-6pm

December 9—–4-9pm

December 10—–Noon-9pm

December 11—–1-6pm

December 16 & 17—–4-9pm

December 18—–1-6pm

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‘Wooden Heart Follies’ – a Nutcracker Original Musical

New this year for the Nutcracker Village/Advent Market is an original Nutcracker musical.

Wooden Heart Follies is a delightful production featuring the unique characters that inhabit the area’s newest holiday attraction. With an original script and lyrics based on Tchaikovsky’s famous “Nutcracker Suite,” the musical comedy includes the Mad Scientist, Patrolman Holiday, the Nutcracker Prince, Clara, Miss Adelaide, Vincenzo the Gondolier, Artopoios the baker, and Miss Nelson herself, the creator of the Steubenville Nutcrackers.

Saint Nicholas shows up as well! With an opportunity for audience participation and a share of slapstick fun, the production should become a welcome addition to family holiday traditions.

There will be performances  four Sunday afternoons at 2:00pm on November 17th, December 4th, 11th, and 18th at the Masonic Hall, 227 North Fourth Street, Steubenville. 

Tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for students and little ones under 6 years old get in free.  

Tickets can be obtained at the Steubenville Visitor Center, 120 S. 3rd Street, at the door, or online at woodenheartfollies.brownpapertickets.com.  

For more information please call:  740.283.1787 -or- 740.283.4935.

Below are some behind the scene shots of the cast and Nutcrackers hard at work getting ready for the play!




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Downtown Steubenville Farmers’ Market still going strong.

The Downtown Steubenville Farmers’ Market official end date is the last Thursday of October which is the 27th.  However, as in prior years, it is anticipated that the market will remain open at least another week or two after that.  The weather is a major determining factor and long range forecasts for early November appear to be favorable, at least for now!

Cabbages, apples, cider, peppers, green beans, pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn,pears,  jellies, preserves, baked goods, nut rolls, and so much more are all still available for purchase.

The Market is open on Thursdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm.

Be sure to stop by before the season is over and you have to wait out the winter before your next opportunity to buy fresh, buy tasty, and buy local.



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When the Arches arrive can the Nutcrackers be far behind?

The first ‘physical’ sign of the upcoming 2016 Steubenville Nutcracker Village has appeared at Fort Steuben Park today!   The  archway structure which is going to cover a walkway of Nutcrackers has arrived and the crew is hard at work assembling it.   The archway is new this year and will provide not only spotlights on each of the Nutcrackers but also be covered with festive Christmas lights.

Also new this year is a 30 foot Christmas tree to be erected over the Memorial Fountain, additional Chalets, many more Nutcrackers and many additional Christmas displays and decorations both inside the Fort Visitor Center and outside, as well as a number of additional fun and exciting events, including a giant train display, Trolley tours and some other ‘surprises’.

The Nutcracker Village as well as Christmas Wonderland and Gift Shop will run from November 22nd, 2016 through January 8th, 2017.  The Advent Market will be open on Light-up Night, November 22nd, and the weekends of November 25th-27th, December 2nd-4th, December 9th-11th, and December 16th-18th.

Also new this year is an original musical production based on the Steubenville Nutcracker Village using familiar melodies of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, titled “Wooden Heart Follies”. The musical will be presented on four Sunday afternoons, November 27th, December 4th, 11th and 18th at 2:00pm at the Masonic Hall on North Fourth Street.  Tickets  are $7 adult, $4 students, and under 6 yrs. free and can be obtained at the door or at the Steubenville Visitor Center.

And we can’t forget the Steubenville Christmas Parade “Sights and Sounds of Christmas: Nutcracker Magic” which will take place on Saturday, December 10th at noon on Fourth Street.

When the arches arrive can the Nutcrackers be far behind?

Set aside a few dates to come and enjoy all the activities, one visit definitely won’t do!


Getting ready for the invasion of the Nutcrackers!

Getting ready for the invasion of the Nutcrackers!

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Coming Soon: Nutcrackers, Nutcrackers and more Nutcrackers!

Preparation is well under way for this year’s Nutcracker Village, Advent Market and Christmas Parade.

Having met with such huge success last year, The Nutcracker Village has grown from 37 characters to an impressive, almost unimaginable 112!    Bringing even more excitement to the Village/Fort Steuben Park is the addition of a 30′ Christmas tree to be erected over the fountain.  There will also be other new, festive decorations added both outside and in the Magical Christmas Wonderland located inside the Visitor Center.  The Advent Market will have a larger number of vendors as well and will be open more weekends.

The Village will be open from November 22nd through January 8th in the Fort Steuben Park.  The Advent Market will be open for Light-up Night November 22nd, and the weekends of November 25th – 27th, December 2nd – 4th, December 9th-11th, and December 16th – 18th.  Trolley Tours and Hayrides will also be a part of the festivities, as well as the indoor “Magical Christmas Wonderland and Gift Shop”.

There will also be a Nutcracker Original Musical  ‘The Wooden Heart Follies’ presented at the Masonic Hall at 2:00pm on four Sunday afternoons (November 27, December 4, December 11, and December 18).  Admission is $7 – adults,  $4 – students, and under 6 years is free. Tickets can be obtained at the Steubenville Visitor Center or at the door.

The Steubenville Christmas Parade “Sights & Sounds of Christmas: Nutcracker Magic” takes place right in the middle of all this excitement on Saturday, December 10th at Noon.  Of course, the parade will include a number of the Nutcrackers, who will ‘escape’ from the Village just long enough to participate.  Be sure to attend and watch for your favorite character.  Last year the parade drew the largest crowd since the 1950’s and we are hoping for a repeat this year!

So mark your calendar now and set aside a few days because you won’t be able to get it all done in just one!

The Nutcracker Village, Advent Market, Magical Christmas Wonderland and Gift Shop, Trolley Tours & Hayrides are all located at, or leave from, Fort Steuben Park and Visitor Center, 120 South 3rd Street, Steubenville, OH.  The Masonic Hall, site of the Nutcracker Musical Production “The Wooden Heart Follies” is located at 227 North 4th Street, Steubenville.  The Steubenville Christmas Parade takes place in downtown Steubenville along Fourth Street from North to South Street.

For more information:  Call 740.283.1787.


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September 10th Ohio River Cruise with Chad Pregracke

On September 10th there will be an Ohio River Cruise aboard the Gateway Clipper with CNN’s 2013 Hero of the Year, author and founder of Living Lands and Waters, Chad Pregracke.  This event is sponsored by the Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District.

Guest will have the opportunity to hear Chad relate his adventures cleaning up the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio rivers over the past nine years with his crew of over 87,000 volunteers.  He is sure to amuse and inspire as he shares his journey from a one man cleaning crusade at the age of 17 to the collection of over 8.4 million pounds of debris from our Nation’s greatest rivers.

Luncheon cruise will board at the Steubenville Marina at 11:45am on Saturday, September 10th and depart for the two hour sail.

General admission ticket is $50.  VIP ticket is $150 and includes cruise ticket and VIP reception following the cruise where guests will receive a photo with Chad, signed book, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

Seating has been reconfigured on this ‘Sold Out’ event to accommodate additional guests, so there are only a limited number of tickets available.

For more information or to purchase a ticket call 740.264.9790.



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Labor Day Weekend brings the 39th Annual Festival of the Arts in Toronto, OH

The 39th Annual Festival of the Arts in Toronto, Ohio, takes place this weekend, September 3rd and 4th.

This annual fun filled exciting event offers over 100 vendors, a car show, continuous live entertainment, the Charlie Vantiburg Cornhole Tournament, the THS Poetry Contest, the Teeny-Tiny Turtle Race, great food and so much more.

Festival hours on Saturday are 10am-8pm, with Opening Ceremony featuring the Toronto High Band and Little Miss Lion at 11am.    Hours on Sunday are Noon -5pm.

Be sure to stop by the Focus in Toronto Booth near the Gazebo to get your hourly raffle tickets, 50/50 tickets, Featured Raffle item tickets, Turtle Adoption Certificates, and a Discover Toronto, OH shirt. With over 100 vendors they will be raffling over 5 items an hour. All proceeds help sustain the Festival of the Arts, the Christmas Parade and Vendor Bazaar, and FIT’s other yearly activities and donations.    Featured Raffle Item –  Local photographer, 24 Jupiter, is providing two canvas portraits to be raffled off on Sunday the 4th. These canvas portraits feature an outstanding picture of the former Toronto High School in winter, and the new Stadium at dusk. Stop by for a chance to claim these two beauties.

Teeny-Tiny Turtle Race – Each year Focus in Toronto hosts the Teeny-Tiny Turtle Race at Newburg Landing.  With a $5 donation you can enter the race and have a chance to win one of three cash prizes.  Each adopted turtle has a number that corresponds to the certificate.  You can adopt your turtle at participating Toronto locations, or at the Festival.   The first turtle to cross the finish line wins.  Please note that the rubber turtles remain the property of FIT.   1st Place:  $500, 2nd Place $100, 3rd Place: $50.

Following is a listing of activities and entertainment for both days:

Saturday Activities:

10:00AM – 3PM: 2nd Annual Car Show – Sponsored by 247 Kustoms 

10:00AM – 8:00PM: Inflatables, Games, Rides by Movin’ N Groovin’

10:00AM – 8:00PM: Festival Art Exhibit

3:00PM: Charlie Vantilburg Cornhole Tournament (Register at the FIT Booth)

Saturday Entertainment:

11:00AM: Opening Ceremony: THS Band & Little Miss Lion

12:00PM: Shelly Irvine and the Steeltones

1:30PM: Tammy Spicer

3:00PM: Powers Martial Arts

3:30PM: The Place For Dance

4:00PM: Roz and Lynn

5:00PM: Titan Cheerleaders

5:30PM: The Bethany James Band

6:30PM: The Lo-Fi Project


Sunday Activities:

12:00PM – 5:00PM: Inflatables, Games, Rides by Movin’ N Groovin’

12:00PM – 5:00PM: Festival Art Exhibit

1:30PM: TEMS vs. Police Department Wing Eating Contest

3:00PM: Teeny-Tiny Turtle Race – $500 Cash Prize

4:30PM: 50/50, THS canvas, and THS Stadium Canvas Raffle

Sunday Entertainment

12:00PM: Shelly Irvine & The Steeltones

1:30PM: Toronto Middle School Cheerleaders

2:00PM: Yankee Grey Band

3:00PM Toronto High School Cheerleaders

3:30PM: Ron Retzer Trio


For more information go to:   www.focusintoronto.com/festival


Festival of the Arts

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Steubenville Nutcracker Village announces an Original Nutcracker Musical.

Casting call!


CONTACT: VON HOLMES (740) 632-7952 woodenhearts2016@gmail.com
or JUDY BRATTEN (740) 283-1787 judy@oldfortsteuben.com

Steubenville’s Nutcracker Village and Advent Market, following its successful premier last Christmas time, will bring its most popular nutcracker characters to life in a new feature for 2016: an original musical comedy set in Steubenville.

The musical, tentatively entitled Wooden Heart Follies, was written by Steubenville residents Von and John Holmes. It incorporates the familiar music of Tchaikovsky from The Nutcracker Suite, but with modern lyrics, telling the story of the joys and sorrows of being a large wooden toy in a human world.

Auditions for the premier of the Nutcracker musical will be held in the lobby of the Grand Theater, 121 South 4th Street in Steubenville, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., Monday, September 12 and Tuesday, September 13.

Adult actors (18 and over) will be needed for a variety of character roles, some singing, some speaking only. The characters are based on the most popular nutcracker figures from 2015 and a few new ones: the Firefighter, the Patrolman, the Gondolier, the Baker, the Prince, St. Nicholas, Clara, Adelaide the Schoolteacher, the Soldier, and the Mad Scientist.

Rehearsal commitment for this show will be Monday through Thursday, starting September 19 and running through November 23; performances will be four successive Sundays starting right after Thanksgiving: November 27 and December 4, 11, and 18.

Actors should come prepared to read dialogue from the play and to sing one short song from a major Broadway musical (bring your own sheet music; an accompanist will be there).

For more information call (740) 632-7952 or woodenhearts2016@gmail.com.

Resident of Steubenville Nutcracker Village

Resident of Steubenville Nutcracker Village

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Mount Pleasant Annual Tour this weekend ~ August 6th & 7th

The Mount Pleasant Annual Tour sponsored by the Historical Society of Mount Pleasant is going to take place this weekend, August 6th and 7th.    Mount Pleasant is located in Jefferson County, at the junction of SR 647 & SR 150 from US 250.

There are new buildings and exciting events added to the tour this year.  The hours have also been extended for the tour to 10:00am – 6:00pm on Saturday, August 6th and 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Sunday, August 7th.

In addition to the society owned properties (Harris Bone Store; Elizabeth House; Historical Center; Burriss Store; Tin Shop), visitors will also have the opportunity to tour the ca. 1814 Quaker Yearly Meeting House state historic landmark.  Representatives from the Ohio History Connection will be on hand at the Benjamin Lundy House/ Free Labor Store to explain the history and significance of the building and detail plans for the extensive restoration of the building.  Visitors can get a sneak peek inside the original Free Labor Store section – believed to be the last extant Free Labor Store in the country.

Additional tour stops include the ca. 1846 Samuel Gill house, located next to the Evangelical Friends Church.  This house was recently purchased by the church and has undergone extensive restoration.  This will be the first time in many decades that the house has been open for the tour.  Directly across the street is the ca. 1800 Humphreville cabin.  This structure, recently purchased by society directors Don & Angela Feenerty, is undergoing intensive restoration to take the building back to its original log form.  For the first time ever tour visitors will be able to take a glimpse into one of the earliest structures in the entire Upper Ohio Valley.

On the other end of town is the crowd favorite J. Brown house, owned by Gary Reynard and Justin McCrea.  The home was originally two separate homes – one built in 1830 and the other in 1918.  An exhibition of paintings by local artist Harold Reynard, a great-cousin of Gary’s, will be on display.

Just a few miles outside of town the ca. 1837 Hicksite Meeting House will be open.  Restoration of the meeting house is underway and visitors may stroll through the small cemetery behind the building — the final resting place for several Underground Railroad conductors and Quaker Civil War soldiers.

Additional attractions during the tour will be an authentic drovers encampment set up near the Quaker Yearly Meeting House.  Society member Bill Sutton will be on hand with an early 19th century wagon that he spent the past year restoring.  The Heritage Dance Association will give historic dance demonstrations beneath the portico of the Evangelical Friends Church.

Shoppers will want to check out the sale at Second Chance Antique Store in town.  The Rodak family, who recently purchased the old Lone Tree restaurant, will have the building open to sell their locally produced honey.

The Elizabeth House Tea Room will be open to serve a light lunch and refreshments.

Visitors are also encouraged to visit the nearby Farm Restaurant and Black Sheep Winery.

For more information or questions, please contact the Historical Society at 1.800.752.2631.

Mount Plesant update


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Thursday’s Concert at Berkman Amphitheater rescheduled for Sunday, July 31st at 6:30pm

Due to the inclement weather, tonight’s concert at the Berkman Amphitheater, Fort Steuben Park, featuring Adrian Niles and Jeff Jimerson & Airborne has been rescheduled for Sunday, July 31st at 6:30pm.

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