Saturday, November 30, 2002


Christmas in Shandon has Welsh tilt


SHANDON - In the snowy twilight, Shandon almost passes for busy.

Cars roll by on Cincinnati-Brookville Road (Ohio 126), but few stop. At a nursery, dozens of Christmas trees stand like white-camouflaged sentinels. Nearby, a boarded-up old retail building sits near a brick Federal-style gem that's decorated for the holidays.

This southern Butler County town is a hodgepodge of fading Americana and a number of historic and not-so-historic homes.

From 10 a.m.-6 p.m. today and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, the town will celebrate its 26th annual Christmas in the Country - with a touch of Welsh heritage. (Information: 738-2962.)

Weekend visitors will find Welsh music, food and stories as well as free horse-drawn trolley rides, antiques and crafts, and Welsh woolens, Welsh cakes, old books and local history.

A decade ago, the town of 300 people - home of Ohio's first Welsh settlement - revived itself with the antiques trade, but that has diminished. The community does have a bed and breakfast, a bookshop and a few other businesses.

"We do half of our sales on the Internet," said Carol Wilson, whose husband operates the book shop, Books in Shandon (Web site). "It has been a savior.

"Small towns have a tough time. We'll celebrate our bicentennial next year. Of course, Shandon's not completely Welsh anymore. It's partly German - and now, some commuters."

Surviving 200 years is much more difficult for a small town than a state, and Shandon residents are proud of their accomplishment.

During a wet snow, I paused to look at the cemetery and the lonely brown fields behind them. I saw a brass plaque on the front of the church: "Shandon Congregational Church, known as Paddy's Run Church. Established Sept. 3, 1803, by the first Welsh settlement in Ohio."

It reminded me of how deeply our roots are set.

Nowadays, weary Shandon equals rural America with an unquenchable will to live.


GOSHEN-Clermont County and Dirr Nurseries of Goshen are featured in a new 180-page book, Ohio Farmers Market Directory, published by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

The free paperbound book also lists farm markets across Ohio.

Clermont's listings include Rouster's Apple House of Milford and Wilfert Farms of Amelia.

You can win a free Christmas tree by responding to a card in the book, or by going online. The directory, also published on-line, includes nearly 200 Christmas tree farms and holiday activities.

"It comes as a surprise to many people that Christmas trees are actually an agricultural crop," said Fred L. Daily, Ohio agriculture director. "With nearly 1.4 million Ohio-grown Christmas trees available and the help of our directory, families should have an easy time finding the perfect tree."

Information: 614-752-9817.

Send check or money order for $2 (for postage) to: Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Markets, 8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068.


COLLEGE HILL-From 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 7, the Christmas at the Farm Market will offer trees, greenery, wreaths, dried arrangements, grapevine items, decorations and foods.

The market will operate at the corner of Hamilton and Llanfair avenues in College Hill in Hamilton County.

Luminaria kits will be sold to benefit the College Hill Gardeners. A community Christmas parade, led by the Aiken High School Marching Band, will start at noon from the parking lot of Shuller's on Hamilton Avenue.

Information: 681-1326.


LEBANON-Christmas at Glendower will be held daily from 1-8 p.m. Dec. 7-15.

The theme: "Two hundred years of Christmas, Ohio-style."

"We've tried to work in the Bicentennial, locally and for Ohio," said Mary Payne of the Warren County Historical Society Museum.

Glendower State Memorial is at 105 Cincinnati Ave. Admission: $3 for adults, $1 for children, K-12.

Information: 932-1817.


SHARONVILLE-Holiday in Lights, more than 200,000 lights and decorations, will continue at Sharon Woods from 6-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6-11 p.m. Friday, Saturday and holidays, through Jan. 5.

Information: 769-0393, or

Randy McNutt's community column appears on Saturday. Contact him at the Enquirer, 7700 Service Center Dr., West Chester OH 45069. Telephone: 755-4158. Fax: 755-4150. E-mail:

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