Looking for a whimsical road trip?
Head to Steubenville, Ohio to check out the Steubenville Nutcracker Village & Advent Market.
The display, which opens Nov. 24, is now in its sixth year and features more than 150 life-size nutcrackers — designed and produced in Steubenville by Nelson's, a family-owned wood shop and gift shop (that seems like it's right out of a Hallmark holiday film wherein one of the kids goes off to the "city" and then returns home only to discover the meaning of Christmas and save her family's business.)
The massive German dolls come in figures ranging from crooner Dean Martin (who was apparently born in Steubenville) and Scarlett O'Hara to the Tooth Fairy, John Glenn and The Nutcracker's Clara and the Mouse King.
Fifty of these will be displayed 24/7 at Fort Steuben Park, along the way to the visitors center. That's where you can grab a map to guide you to see the rest of the city's nutcrackers, standing sentry along the streets and storefronts of Steubenville. And, according to a press release, "Sebastian — the singing autistic Nutcracker — stands by the doorway inviting visitors to drop a dollar in his drum to hear a song from Steubenville’s own Dean Martin!"
“The Nutcracker Village is a phenomenal experience,” says Mayor Jerry Barilla in the release. “We wanted to create a new attraction and through the efforts of many dedicated people the dream came to be. Almost all the activities are free due to generous donations and sponsorships...We are ready to welcome visitors to this magical event.”
Starting with an opening ceremony and tree lighting on Nov. 24, the Advent Market will be open Friday trough Sunday for handmade gifts, holiday decor, Amish baked goods, local honey, homemade fudge and commemorative nutcrackers and souvenirs, plus sausages, cider and hot cocoa.
There will also be trolley rides, tours of historic Fort Steuben and a lantern parade scheduled throughout the Steubenville Nutcracker Village & Advent Market's run — until Jan. 9, 2021.
Steubenville, Ohio is located about 4 hours away. For more info, visit steubenvillenutcrackervillage.com.