Thursday, December 4, 2003

Train ride highlights Christmas Cleves fest

By Angela Koenig
Enquirer contributor

CLEVES - This weekend, this tiny western Hamilton County village hosts its annual street festival, Christmas in the Village, now in its 16th year.

"It just keeps getting better and better," co-organizer Sheila Sinclair said of the two-day event, which draws thousands from all over the Tristate.

The festivities kick off at 10 a.m. Friday, but the activities really get going around 5 p.m., with carriage and fire engine rides, entertainment, crafters, food booths and holiday lights. Festivities continue until 10 p.m. and then resume at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, ending about 10 p.m.

The highlight of the festival is the "Christmas Express" train ride to Cincinnati and back. The ride lasts an hour and Santa and Mrs. Claus make appearances. People look forward to the ride as much as the event itself, Sinclair said.

The train will go out twice on Friday, at 6 and 8 p.m., and five times on Saturday beginning at noon. Cost is $9 per person.

"It's the biggest draw" to the event, said organizer Jim Moore, one of about 20 committee members who plan for the festivities.

Last year the train was not available, which cut down on attendance some, he said. This time the village booked it early, he said.

Train tickets can be purchased at Merrilees Hardware in Cleves, Sullivan's Grocery in Miami Heights and the Whitewater Kroger in Miamitown. Parking is at Harmony Field on Cooper Road. Shuttle buses will transport riders to the train station.

For more information or a schedule of events, contact Moore at 941-3220 or Donna Weber at 941-2380.

Also this weekend:

SPRINGFIELD TWP. - The Sixth Annual Holiday Winter Festival at the Grove will be 12:30-5:30 p.m., Sunday, at the Grove and Senior Center, 9158 Winton Road.

Santa Claus will arrive on a Springfield Township fire truck at 2 p.m. Free pictures with Santa will follow in the senior center.

Thirty-two crafters will display and sell their wares along with food sold by civic groups. Entertainment will be in the outdoor heated tent.

TRENTON - The annual Christmas in Trenton festivities will be 7-9 p.m. Friday at the Civic Hall, 11 E. State Street.

A small parade bringing Santa into this Butler County city will kick off the festivities, followed by the simultaneous lighting of the city's Christmas trees around town.

The event will include free food such as pizza and snacks; free pictures with Santa; a visit from the Grinch, and entertainment from area churches and schools.

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